Kralupy nad Vltavou, 15 November 2021
In the early hours of today, 15 November 2021, operation of the Druzhba crude oil pipeline, which transports Russian REB crude oil to the Czech Republic, resumed. The crude oil pipeline was shut down for more than a week due to the relocation of the pipeline due to the construction of the Církvice bypass.
It was a very demanding and unique event, which was preceded by intensive preparations and negotiations between the stakeholders, i.e., MERO ČR, a.s., the Road and Motorway Directorate of the Czech Republic, ORLEN Unipetrol RPA s.r.o., and the Administration of State Material Reserves. Planned relocations of the pipeline based on the needs of contracting authorities have occurred in the past, but these mostly involved shorter sections. In this case, it was necessary to relocate two sections measuring 260 and 130 m in length and to strengthen one part of the pipeline to withstand the load of the new road.
The extraordinary feature of the whole event also consisted in the fact that it took place during the full operation of the Litvínov refinery. The refinery was pre-stocked for a period of nine days, with the relocation of the pipeline being planned for six days. In the event of an emergency, the Administration of State Material Reserves was prepared to release emergency oil reserves, which, due to the fact that all of the work took place without any complications and according to the set schedule, was not required.
“The relocation was preceded by more than two years of training, in which many of our company’s specialists were involved, for which I thank them very much. The reconnection of the pipeline took place in compliance with the strictest safety standards without any negative impact on the supply of oil to the refineries. Thanks to the active approach of our company, it was possible to complete the reconnection this year”, stated Zdeněk Dundr, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors and Operations and Technical Director of MERO ČR, a.s.