WARSAW. JUNE 4. INTERFAX C.NTRAL EUROPE - Poland's top fuel firm PKN Orlen "cannot understand" Russian Transneft's ostensible inability to restore pipeline deliveries of crude oil to Mazeikiu Nafta, a Lithuanian refiner it acquired last year, Chief Executive Piotr Kownacki told reporters Monday.
"I cannot understand how such an experienced operator as Transneft is at first unable to identify damage [that Transneft says led to a shut-down of pipeline deliveries to Mazeikiu in June 2006] and then says some things that are very hard to understand about it taking years to mend it," Kownacki said. "That is why non-technological reasons naturally spring to mind."
Lithuania agreed to sell the sole refinery in the three Baltic countries to PKN Orlen in May last year after several Russian contenders, as well as Kazakhstan's KazMunaiGaz, placed losing bids to the asset. The following month, Transneft shut down pipeline deliveries of crude to Mazeikiu, forcing the refiner to rely on costlier supplies via a sea route to the Baltic Sea port of Butinga.
Russia insists a pipeline leak is to blame for the shutdown and says the damage could take months, or years, to repair.