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Novatek Resumes Fuel Processing After Ukrainian Drone Attack

Russia’s Novatek restarted earlier this week fuel processing at its complex on the Baltic Sea damaged last month in a suspected Ukrainian drone attack, industry sources told Reuters on Wednesday.  

Novatek’s export terminal and processing site at Russia’s Ust-Luga port on the Baltic Sea was damaged in January by what Ukraine said was a drone attack on Russian energy infrastructure.  

While the Ust-Luga port on continued to ship crude and fuels for exports, terminal operated by Novatek was shut and operations suspended after the attack.  

Ust-Luga is one of the key export hubs for Russian crude oil and fuels.

At the time of the attack more than three weeks ago, Russia’s Vedomosti daily cited an official from the regional authorities as saying there had been two explosions at the site of the export terminal that had caused a fire at one fuel storage tank.

TASS cited Novatek as confirming that the fire was the result of external actions.

“The technological process at Novatek-Ust-Luga has been stopped, and an operational headquarters has been established to eliminate the consequences. Damage assessment will be carried out later,” Novatek was quoted as saying at the time. 

Now the company has resumed processing at the complex which turns gas condensate into light and heavy naphtha, jet fuel, fuel oil, and gasoil, according to Reuters’ sources.  

The drone attack at Ust-Luga was the first of a series of attacks on Russian energy infrastructure which Ukraine has claimed over the past month. 

Just last week, Ukraine’s SBU security service carried out operations in southern Russia, attacking two Russian oil refineries with drones, a Ukrainian source told Reuters on Friday. The drone attacks caused a large fire at the Ilsky refinery in the Krasnodar region in southern Russia.

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The attacks and damages on Russian refineries have reduced Russia’s capability to process crude, which has increased crude volumes shipped out of Russia but has decreased diesel and other product exports.      

By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com

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