The fire at the refinery did not spread to the market - Newspaper Kommersant No. 23 (7468) dated 08.02.

The fire at the refinery did not spread to the market - Newspaper Kommersant No. 23 (7468) dated 08.02.

A fire that broke out at a delayed coker unit with a capacity of 2.1 million tons, recently launched at the Nizhny Novgorod refinery of LUKOIL, depending on the damage, can stop it for a period of several days to a year. The incident will not affect the overall production of the plant, but the yield of dark oil products will increase. The fuel market has not yet reacted to the accident in Kstovo: the quotations of the main products on the stock exchange were declining.

On the morning of February 7, a fire broke out at the delayed coking unit (DCU) of the Kstovsky refinery of LUKOIL in Nizhny Novgorod. The press service of the plant's managing structure, LUKOIL-Nizhegorodnefteorgsintez LLC, reported that the "smoke" was eliminated as soon as possible, there were no casualties, and the enterprise was operating normally. At the same time, according to Reuters sources, a coking separation column caught fire at the ultrasonic testing unit, and now it may require a complete replacement, which can take from 6 to 12 months.

The construction of a 2.1 million tonnes per year oil residue processing complex in Kstovo began in 2018 and was completed in 2022. Officially, LUKOIL launched ultrasonic testing in November, but in fact it has been operating since spring. The complex allowed the plant to increase the yield of light oil products to 71% and increase the depth of processing to 87%. Thanks to ultrasonic processing, diesel fuel production increased by 0.7 million tons per year, while fuel oil production was expected to decrease by more than 2.5 million tons.

According to Kommersant's sources in the market, if the ultrasonic testing column is really damaged, then the volume of production of dark oil products at the plant will increase again, but this will not affect the operation of the refinery as a whole and the volume of fuel supplies to the market, especially if the company quickly eliminates the damage.

The question remains whether LUKOIL has an understanding of how quickly they can redirect fuel oil flows, but most likely this will not cause serious problems, Kommersant's interlocutors say.

As regards the main product produced by the plant, petroleum coke, in their opinion, this is a specific product with limited sales, which can be replaced by an alternative, for example, conventional coal coke.

To determine the repair time, according to the market, it is necessary to clearly understand which parts of the installation are damaged. At best, repairs will only take a few days.

But if the fire hit pumps or other equipment, then recovery will not be as fast, since, for example, cables burn out quickly and are not repaired. One of Kommersant's interlocutors notes that the ignition of the cables has already occurred during the launch of the installation. At the same time, they say in the market, the situation with the purchase of new equipment for repair may be complicated by sanctions.

In the event that the column will have to be changed entirely, Kommersant's interlocutors estimate the repair time to be at least a year.

“The worst thing is if building structures “led”. Then it is necessary to dismantle the equipment, pipes and subsequent new installation. Our concrete is fire-resistant, but metal is often not made of very high-quality fire protection, ”says one of the market participants.

Sources of Kommersant remind that a similar situation occurred in 2021 at the Belarusian refinery Naftan. There, at the end of September 2021, during start-up work, a fire broke out with the release of burning diesel fuel at the delayed coking unit. The fire was extinguished on the same day, and the operation of the refinery continued as usual, but restoration work at the unit, taking into account the replacement of the column, lasted about a year. The repair of the ultrasonic testing unit at the Antipinsky Oil Refinery of the Rusinvest company continued for about the same time: it was damaged by a fire in January 2022, and the company was able to start it again only in December.

2.1 million tons

is the capacity of the delayed coking unit at LUKOIL's Kstovsky Refinery

At the same time, one of the market participants doubts that the situation at NORSI will be so serious. In his opinion, if the fire at the LUKOIL plant was not allowed to spread seriously, then repairs would take about a week. For this period, it is not a problem to redistribute the raw materials and products of the affected installation, says a Kommersant source. He also believes that the accident will not have an impact on the Russian fuel market.

Wholesale quotations of fuel at SPIMEX have not yet reacted to the situation at the Nizhny Novgorod refinery. Gasoline brand AI-95 fell in price on February 7 by 0.2%, to 38.09 thousand rubles. per ton, summer diesel fuel - by 0.67%, up to 41.51 thousand rubles. per ton. Growth by 0.41% (up to 41.25 thousand rubles) was shown only by off-season diesel fuel.

Olga Mordyushenko

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