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Russia Is Bringing Back Refining Capacity Hit by Ukrainian Drones

Russia has brought back online some oil refining units in recent weeks, reducing the capacity taken offline by Ukrainian drone hits to around 10%, from 14% at the end of March, calculations by Reuters showed on Monday.

The refining capacity in Russia that is currently offline due to drone attacks is now estimated by Reuters at around 660,000 barrels per day (bpd), compared to 907,000 bpd offline at the end of March.

Still, maintenance and other outages at Russia’s refineries will actually raise the refining capacity that will be offline this month compared to March, per Reuters data and calculations.

In recent months, Ukraine has stepped up attacks on oil refineries in Russia, which have reduced Russian refining capacity, and which, reportedly, have the White House concerned about rising international prices.

The United States has repeatedly urged Ukraine to halt its drone attacks on Russian oil refineries due to Washington’s assessment that the strikes could lead to Russian retaliation and push up global oil prices, the Financial Times reported last month, citing sources familiar with the exchange.

The latest Ukrainian attack that damaged a refinery was from April 2, when Ukrainian drones hit the primary refining unit of Russia’s third-largest refinery, the Taneco refinery of Russian company Tatneft in Tatarstan, an industrialized region southeast of Moscow more than 800 miles from the front line.

Russia said in early April it can repair all damaged units within two months.

Russia’s Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov said that all damaged refineries in the country would be restarted by the beginning of June.

“Repairs are underway at the refineries. We plan to re-launch a number of refineries after repairs in April-May, possibly before the beginning of June,” Russian news agency Interfax quoted Shulginov as saying.

“All facilities that were damaged will be re-commissioned,” the minister added.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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