Polish oil refiner and operator PKN Orlen said on Friday that it would seek compensation from Russia for halting oil supplies to Poland via the Druzhba pipeline. The pipeline stopped delivering on 25 February 2023, one day after the one-year mark of the invasion of Ukraine. 

Orlen’s CEO, Daniel Obajtek, said that the company has had to tap into alternative sources to fill the gap. He said that Russia imported only 10% of crude oil. The pipeline was exempted from EU sanctions imposed on Russia last year. 

In a radio interview, when asked if the company had decided not to get its oil from Russia, Obajtek replied: “I can’t break the contract because I would pay for oil I didn’t pick up. These are agreements, and breaking them without European sanctions would mean heavy penalties. We would expose ourselves to large compensation payments, and this money would go to Putin.”

He added that he could not discuss any more details of the company contracts and refused to provide a value for potential compensation. 

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Marawiecki said that the country would cut its oil reliance on Russian imports close to zero in February-March. The company official also mentioned that it had stopped purchasing seaborne oil and finished petroleum products from Russia at the start of the invasion. 

Orlen’s long-term contract with Russian oil company Rosneft expired last year, at the time when it pledged to stop participating in imports from Russia. The company’s only remaining contract with Russia, via oil producer Tatneft, expires at the end of the year 2024.