The flow of diesel fuel through a Russian-owned pipeline will resume at 11 p.m. on July 23, Vital Navitski, spokesman for the Belarusian emergency management ministry, told BelaPAN.
The ministry ordered Transnefteprodukt to stop the flow of fuel through its pipeline’s Belarusian section earlier this month, citing the Russian company’s failure to fix pipeline defects. He said that Transnefteprodukt executives and Belarusian officials had held talks in Minsk on July 22.
The ministry’s Dzyarzhpramnahlyad industrial safety watchdog ordered the pipeline shut down after Transnefteprodukt failed to fix all of its 1,082 defects before July 17. The aging pipeline, which carries diesel fuel from Russia to the Latvian seaport of Ventspils, was hit by leaks in the past. "They repaired 32 critical defects in six months, while 14 defects have been fixed since the July 17 shutdown," Mr. Navitski said.
The Russian company has already increased the number of repair teams and has promised to provide a detailed repair schedule to the Belarusian authorities before July 27, the spokesman noted, adding that the pipeline would operate at the lowest possible capacity for the time being.
"There’s still some risk left. But considering the obvious progress in repairs and the rising number of repair teams and the fact that we will be presented with a repair schedule and, if necessary, can move up the date of the repair of the most dangerous defects so that it is done right away, we are allowing them to resume the flow of diesel fuel," Mr. Navitski said. Meanwhile, the Latvian government has expressed concern over the situation and plans to discuss it with the Russian government later this month, RIA Novosti said.