Poland said on Wednesday it had detected a leak in one of the Druzhba pipelines bringing oil from Russia to Europe and said it was probably caused by an accident, although the event may still stoke concerns about the security of Europe’s energy supplies.
The discovery of the leak in the main route carrying oil to Germany, which operator PERN said it found on Tuesday evening, comes as Europe faces a severe energy crisis in the aftermath of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine which has cut supplies of gas in a continuing stand-off.
“Here we can talk about accidental damage,” Poland’s top official in charge of energy infrastructure Mateusz Berger told Reuters by telephone. He said there were no grounds to believe the leak was caused by sabotage.
PERN said in a statement that at this point the exact causes of the leak were unknown. It was detected in a section of the pipe around 70 kilometres from the central Polish city of Plock.
The Druzhba oil pipeline, whose name means “friendship” in Russian, is one of the world’s largest, supplying Russian oil to much of central Europe including Germany, Poland, Belarus, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria.
“The main action (we are taking) is to pump out the liquid and locate the leak and stop it,” fire brigade spokesman Karol Kierzkowski told state broadcaster TVP Info.