History of construction of the Druzhba oil pipelines system

The history of creation and development of BELTRUBOPROVODSTROY would not have been possible without participation of the first company’s crews in construction and maintenance of the Belarusian section of the largest oil transportation system “Druzhba”. In mid-60-s of 20-th century it was first line that has connected Siberian oil deposits with the countries of Central and Western Europe.

The huge rise of post-war industry has shown the need in the construction of a large oil supply artery that might be able to meet the growing demands of the recovering economies. In December 10, 1958 in Prague at the plenary session of the Council of UMEA (Union for Mutual Economic Assistance) it was decided to build a main oil pipeline from Volga-Ural oil and gas region of former USSR to European countries-allies of UMEA. Construction began in December 1960.

Under the terms of the agreement, each of the route countries was responsible for design, construction, commissioning and maintenance of its section of the Druzhba pipeline – because of this, de jure and de facto, the pipeline became the property of that country.

That is why, there in Belarus it became necessary to form construction crews for  construction, maintaining and development the Belarusian part of the Druzhba oil pipeline. The owner of the pipeline in the territory of Belarus became Gomeltransneft-Druzhba.

Construction of the pipeline was an example of the first large-scale international project. Pipes for the pipeline were manufactured in the Soviet Union and Poland, valves and fittings were brought from the Czech Republic, pumps from Germany, communication equipment and automation systems from Hungary. During construction, more than 15 million m3 of soil was disposed of along the entire route. In total there were a record 730,000 tonnes of pipes were laid. More than 45 underwater and overwater pipeline crossings over the rivers were implemented along the pipeline route.

The Druzhba oil pipelines system operating is supported by 46 pumping stations, 38 intermediate pumping stations and tank farms with a total oil capacity of 1.5 million m3.

Commissioning of the Druzhba pipeline started in October 1964 and it has reached its full capacity at mid-1970s.

From the start of construction in December 1960 to the present day, the project remains the world’s longest oil transportation system and the major engineering breakthrough of the post-war period.

The total length of the pipelines of the Druzhba system is more than 8,900 km. To visualise the route of the transcontinental Druzhba pipeline, let us determine its intermediate stations. Nominally, the pipeline comes from  the Russian city of Almetyevsk, where oil from the largest oil arteries of Siberia, the Urals and the Caspian Sea comes together. From Almetyevsk the line with a total length of over 4000 km goes to Samara, Bryansk and Mozyr. Here it splits into 2 branches – northern and southern. The northern part of the Druzhba pipeline runs through Belarus, Poland, Germany, Latvia and Lithuania. The southern part transports fuel to Ukraine and in the Uzhgorod City splits into Druzhba-1 towards Slovakia and the Czech Republic and Druzhba-2 towards Hungary.

Despite the difficulties in operation, there is still no project of similar scale in the world! We are in BELTRUBOPROVODSTROY honoured to be a part of the development of the oil transportation system of Druzhba and a partner of Gomeltransneft-Druzhba.


*the photos are for illustrative purposes only

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