Russian pipeline operator Transneft said Sept. 13 that crude deliveries via the Northern branch of the Druzhba pipeline, which ships Russian crude to Europe, have been suspended Sept. 11-14.
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The halt is due to restrictions on uptake at Adamowo-Zastawa, due to full storage levels at Germany's 220,000 b/d PCK Schwedt refinery, Transneft added.
Russia exports its key Urals crude grade via the Druzhba line. Urals sour crude hit a seven-month high Sept. 8 after stronger demand resulted in a steady clearance of the September loading program, leading to tighter availability.
S&P Global Platts assessed Urals CIF Rotterdam at Dated Brent minus $1.025/b on Sept. 8, its highest differential since Feb. 8, when it was assessed at Dated Brent minus 87 cents/b.
Transneft ships around 1 million b/d via the Druzhba pipeline to Europe.
Currently, the Urals loading plan for September has not been amended, a Transneft spokesperson said.
Transneft added that a storm warning is in effect at the Baltic ports of Ust-Luga and Primorsk, other key export routes for Urals crude. The storm warning has been in place since 23:00 Moscow time (2030 GMT) on Sept. 12. Wind speeds are 14-16 meters/second. Operations are being carried out dependent on the weather, and the program has not yet been disrupted. Deliveries via Novorossiisk on the Black Sea came on schedule Sept. 11, the spokesperson said.
The September Urals loading program for Baltic ports was already set to fall 200,000 mt from August to 4.5 million mt, due to maintenance.
Southern branch flows resumed
The suspension follows a halt to flows via the southern branch of Druzhba Sept. 9-13 to allow for reverse flows along the line. Supplies via this leg have now resumed, the Transneft spokesperson said.
The suspension was to allow for crude shipments from Azerbaijan via the Odessa-Brody pipeline.
The spokesperson did not provide details of whether similar reverse flows will take place up to the end of 2021, but said that would be decided on a monthly basis.
Loading programs for Urals crude are expected to increase over the coming months as OPEC+ production restrictions continue to ease and global crude demand returns.