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Ukrainian Drone Attacks Knock Down 370,500 Bpd of Russia’s Refining Capacity

Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian oil refineries have knocked down as much as 370,500 barrels per day (bpd) of Russia’s refining capacity so far into the first quarter of the year, or 7% of the total, according to Reuters calculations.  

Since the beginning of 2024, Ukraine has intensified attacks with drones on Russian refining and other energy infrastructure, including fuel depots and fuel export terminals.

Attacks have also intensified this week, ahead of the Russian presidential election this weekend, in which Vladimir Putin is running unopposed and is certain to win another six-year term in office.

Since Tuesday, Ukraine has attacked with drones several refineries in Russia’s western and southwestern regions, damaging at least three of these crude processing facilities. Fires at the refineries mean that at least some of their units would be offline for repairs for unspecified periods of time.

A Lukoil refinery in western Russia caught fire after a drone attack on Tuesday. A crude processing unit at the refinery in Nizhny Novgorod is on fire after a drone attack was carried out on Tuesday morning, Gleb Nikitin, governor of Nizhny Novgorod, wrote on his Telegram channel.

A few hours earlier, a drone attack was launched at a fuel and energy facility in the Oryol region. One of the fuel tanks caught fire as a result of the attack, a representative of the local authorities told Russian news agency TASS.

On Wednesday, a fire erupted at an oil refinery in a region southeast of Moscow following a suspected Ukrainian drone attack.

The reduced refining capacity – due to the attacks and seasonal maintenance – could be a key reason why Russia said early this month that it would focus on cuts to oil production instead of exports in its voluntary supply reduction within OPEC+ in the second quarter, according to analysts.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • Steven Conn on March 15 2024 said:
    Sheer speculation which also assumes closures instead of prompt repairs and entire refinery instead of partial damage.

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