Croatia, INA to halt oil processing at Rijeka refinery until spring

, SEE Energy News

The Rijeka oil refinery, operated by Croatian oil company INA, will stop processing crude oil staring next month and the halt in production will last for at least five months.

According to the plan, the processing should be restarted in April next year. The official reason for the suspension is the works on the construction of a facility for the processing of heavy oil residues (cocking plant) worth some 500 million euros, and INA claims that it will do everything to ensure the supply of the fuel market, although they do not specify at what prices.

Despite the fact that INA has certain stocks of motor fuels, primarily petrol, these stocks will at best last until January or February next year. After that, INA will have to import petrol besides diesel which it imports every year anyway, in quantities of between 200 and 400 thousand tons. Given the uncertainty on the oil derivatives market, especially with the arrival of winter and the unpredictable duration of the war in Ukraine and the European embargo on Russian crude oil imports, it is impossible to estimate in which direction the prices of oil derivatives will move in the period from November this year to April next year .

INA does not offer any answer to the question of whether they have already contracted the import of fuel until the end of the suspension of production at the Rijeka refinery, or at what prices. INA replied that, while the modernization of the refinery is ongoing, the refinery itself cannot operate continuously while work is being carried out on the existing facilities.

The construction of the coking plant in Rijeka is only halfway through and will be completed in the best case by the end of 2024, with a delay of at least a whole decade compared to the planned one. Namely, the construction of the coking plant at Rijeka refinery was conditioned by the Hungarian side in INA on the shutdown of production at Sisak refinery, and with the export of oil from Croatian fields to MOL’s refineries, as well as many other requirements, which made the project that was supposed to be started immediately after the construction of the hydrocracking plant in Rijeka, stretch for a whole decade.