MOSCOW - The Druzhba ("Friendship") oil pipeline, where European supplies have been hit by a trade row between Moscow and Minsk this week, handles about a third of Russia's oil exports.
The pipeline was built in the 1960s to supply Soviet allies Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary and Poland and begins in the Russian city of Samara, to which oil is pumped from western Russia and Siberia.
Russia, which is the world's second biggest exporter after Saudi Arabia, exported around 250 million tonnes of crude oil in 2005. Some 83.4 million tonnes, or about a third of the total, went through Druzhba.
Several European countries have reported disruptions in their oil supplies through Druzhba this week as a result of an ongoing dispute over transit tariffs between Russia and Belarus.
The main trunk pipeline splits into three branches that all transit through Belarus on their way to European Union markets. Here are the European states affected by supply cuts:
- Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia: These three countries, which are supplied by the southern branch of the pipeline, all reported a halt in supplies from Druzhba on Monday.
Hungary and Slovakia receive almost all their oil supplies from Russia through the Druzhba pipeline. The Czech Republic depends on Druzhba for around two-thirds of supplies.
- Germany and Poland: The northern branch of the pipeline goes to Poland and Germany further downstream. Germany receives around 23.4 million tonnes every year, or about 20 percent of imports, and Poland gets 18 million tonnes.
Both Germany and Poland have emphasised that they will be able to use strategic reserves to provide their refineries if supply cuts from the Druzhba pipeline continue.
- Lithuania: A third branch of the pipeline, known as Druzhba-1, goes through Belarus to the Baltic state of Lithuania, providing crude oil for a major refinery there.
Supplies were halted in August 2006 after a rupture in the line. Some analysts have seen delays in repairing the pipeline as part of Russian attempts to control the refinery.