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Russia Is Struggling to Repair Refineries Due to Sanctions

Due to the sanctions, Russia cannot access spare parts from Western engineering companies that have provided refinery equipment in the past, leaving Russian refiners struggling to repair damaged units, multiple industry sources in Russia have told Reuters.

Western firms including America’s UOP and Swiss ABB have supplied parts and equipment to major Russian refineries in the past. After the invasion of Ukraine, they no longer fulfill new orders from Russia, leaving local engineers scrambling to find spare parts and equipment.  

One example of such difficulty is Lukoil’s Norsi refinery in Nizhny Novgorod on the Volga River. A turbine malfunctioned there in early January and Russian engineers have struggled to have the equipment replaced since then, according to Reuters sources.  

This has left the refinery with a reduced capacity to produce gasoline.

The malfunction at the refinery compounded last month after a fire broke out at the facility following a drone attack.

Since all major Russian refineries use at least some part of Western technology, they could struggle to repair equipment and units that broke down or have been damaged by Ukrainian drone attacks, which have intensified in recent weeks and have taken an estimated 14% of Russia’s refining capacity offline.

Russia claims it can repair all damaged units within two months.

On Wednesday, 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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Due to refinery damage as a result of the drone attacks, Russia’s gasoline production fell by 12% in the last week of March compared to the February average, Russian daily Kommersant reported on Thursday, quoting the Federal State Statistics Service, Rosstat. The domestic market hasn’t felt the impact, yet, also thanks to higher fuel imports from Belarus, Kommersant notes.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on April 04 2024 said:
    If Russia built these refineries in the first place, how could it struggle to repair them? What is needed here is more common sense and less Western disinformation untruths.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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