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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Orlen Could Enlist EU Help to Get Oil

WARSAW -- PKN Orlen, Poland's largest oil company, will ask the European Union to help it get Russian oil for the Lithuanian refiner it is buying if deliveries are cut off for political reasons, Orlen's chief executive officer told Forbes.

Orlen still expects Russian pipeline operator Transneft to repair its pipeline to Mazeikiu Nafta, the only refiner in the Baltic states, which the Plock, Poland-based company is buying for $2.34 billion, CEO Igor Chalupec told the Polish version of Forbes magazine in an interview.

Chalupec said that, if Transneft did not repair the pipeline quickly, it would most likely be for political rather than business reasons, and Orlen would ask the Polish government to raise the matter with the EU as part of the bloc's broader energy policy toward Russia.

Meanwhile, Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said in an interview Thursday that Mazeikiu could get crude oil elsewhere if Transneft closed the pipeline.

Mazeikiu is considering importing crude through the Klaipeda terminal and railways to add to supplies now coming through the Butinge oil terminal, Kirkilas said on radio Ziniu Radijas.

"I even believe that in the future these alternative ways of supplies may become the main ones if our pipeline supplier up to now will be so unreliable," Kirkilas said.

Transneft said Aug. 16 that it might close the 42-year-old Druzhba-1 pipeline, which was shut down after an accident at the end of July.

Transneft's preliminary export shedule showed earlier this week that it would not supply crude to Lithuania in September for a second month in a row.

Transneft was supplying about 250,000 bpd to Lithuania's Butinge terminal and Mazeikiu until the leak forced supplies to halt earlier this month.

Mazeikiu is the main consumer of Russian crude shipped through the northernmost segment of the pipeline. Lithuania offered to help Russia repair the pipeline, the prime minister said.

Mazeikiu also gets oil through its Butinge terminal on the Baltic Sea, which will be closed for repairs for at least 12 days in September.

Lithuanian Economy Minister Vytas Navickas said Aug. 10 that Mazeikiu had arranged enough crude to continue operating trough September.

Mazeikiu's previous owner, Yukos, was forced to sell the company after Russia filed claims for $30 billion in back taxes against the now-crippled oil major.