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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Power Outage Stops Oil Flowing Through Ukraine

MOSCOW — Russian oil supplies to Europe via Ukraine were suspended on Wednesday after a power outage on the southern spur of the Druzhba pipeline, which officials expect to last no more than 24 hours.

Refiners in Hungary and the Czech Republic, which along with Slovakia could be the worst affected, said they expected no material damage as long as flows were resumed within a few days.

"Our Ukrainian colleagues promised us they would resolve the failure within 24 hours," said Igor Dyomin, spokesman for Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft.

Ukrainian state energy company Naftogaz later confirmed that the country's pipeline operator planned to restart pumping oil within 24 hours of the stoppage, which occurred late on Tuesday.

The Lviv branch of Ukraine's Emergencies Ministry said on its web site that supplies through a section of the pipeline in western Ukraine had been suspended because of localized power cuts, a result of bad weather.

Dyomin said Transneft was able to keep receiving oil for the Druzhba pipeline from Russian companies for 24 hours.

"We can fill our reservoirs for about one day. We don't have any losses at the moment, as we are still in a position to receive oil," he said.

In early 2007, Russia briefly closed Druzhba — which means "friendship" in Russian — after a row with Belarus.

The pipeline pumps more than 1.2 million barrels of crude a day into Europe. Flows of up to about 600,000 barrels per day to Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic could be cut as a result of the accident in Ukraine.

But company representatives said they believed that a stoppage of a few days would be immaterial for the refineries that the pipeline feeds.

Hungarian oil and gas company MOL confirmed that crude deliveries to Hungary through the Druzhba II pipeline were halted in Ukraine.

"At the moment, this has no impact on MOL. Our own stocks are sufficient," a company official told Reuters.

The chief executive of Czech refiner Ceska Rafinerska, Ivan Soucek, also said a temporary supply suspension would have no material effect on the plant's working processes.

"We have enough accumulated reserves if the shutdown is counted in days," he told Reuters at a conference in Prague.