March 4. 2024. 11:22

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Poland’s Orlen to sue Russia for halting oil supplies


State-owned energy giant Orlen will take legal steps against Russia over its recent suspension of oil supplies via the Druzhba pipeline, the company’s CEO, Daniel Obajtek, announced.

In February, the Russian Tatneft company unilaterally halted oil supplies to Poland, allegedly over non-payment issues. The decision came just one day after Poland was the first country to donate Leopard tanks to Ukraine and a few days after the visit to Warsaw by US President Joe Biden.

“After President Joe Biden’s visit, the Russians stopped pumping oil to Poland,” Obajtek, told Radio Zet.

Orlen “will now take legal action and assert claims,” he added.

While Poland aimed to phasing out Russian coal and gas last year, it continues to import Russian coal.

In January, 10% of Polish oil imports came from Russia, with Orlen arguing that this was due to the previously-agreed contracts with Tatneft that remained in force and could only be broken with EU sanctions.

One contract expired in January, the other expires in 2024, Obajtek told Radio Zet.

It is difficult to break a contract without sanctions, he said, explaining that “we would expose ourselves to large fines and that money (paid in fines) would go to Putin anyway.”

“We would have to pay for the oil that we haven’t even received,” Obajtek added. Asked about how large the fines would be, Obajtek did not cite specific numbers, saying only that under the contract “these are very large sums of money.”

Last summer, the European Union agreed to impose an embargo on the purchase, import and transfer of Russian seaborne crude oil and certain petroleum products. Exempted from the ban are imports of crude oil by pipeline to certain EU member states.

(Aleksandra Krzysztoszek | EURACTIV.pl)