Construction of the Oil Refinery in Schwedt (1962)
A treaty signed in Moscow on December 18, 1959, called for the construction of a crude oil pipeline from the Soviet Union, through Poland, to Schwedt on the Oder River in the GDR. On November 11, 1960, the cornerstone was laid for a crude oil combine [Kombinat] in Schwedt. The 3,100 mile pipeline “Friendship” was dedicated on December 18, 1963, and the nationally-owned Schwedt crude oil refinery became operational on April 1, 1964. In 1970, it was transformed into the Schwedt Petrochemical Combine (PCK). The PCK played a central role in the GDR’s energy economy: approximately four-fifths of oil imports from the Soviet Union flowed through the “Friendship” pipeline toward Schwedt. Moreover, the Schwedt combine accounted for three-fourths of the GDR’s total oil refining capacity. The refinement of oil products was the main source of valuta in the planned economy. Photo by Horst E. Schulze.