London — Russian refineries are gradually restarting and ramping up to normal capacity amid surging demand and gasoline shortages that have pushed prices to record highs.
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Russian premium unleaded gasoline 95 RON climbed to a record high on June 18 on the back of a rebound in driving to levels before the coronavirus pandemic took hold. Gasoline has been climbing since the end of April as demand gradually recovered at a time when refineries reduced throughput or were out for maintenance. Gasoline demand in June has now exceeded levels before the coronavirus took hold, after Russia eased lockdowns and more people took to driving rather than use public transport.
Russian refining activity has been slow to recover after contracting in April and May. It fell 400,000 b/d month on month in May, and 255,000 b/d year on year, the International Energy Agency said in its monthly report earlier this week.
Separately, Belarus' Naftan refinery received the first batch of US crude, the country's Belta news agency reported, citing owner Belneftekhim. The US exported its first crude oil cargo to Belarus in mid-May after an agreement between the two governments in February to increase trade of American goods to the landlocked Eastern European country. Access to US crude is part of Belarus' strategy to diversify supply sources and ensure sustainable operations for its refining sector in 2020 and beyond, Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said in a statement in May. Deliveries of Russian crude to Belarus have been disrupted since the start of 2020 due to a dispute over crude supply terms.
NEW AND ONGOING MAINTENANCE, UPGRADES, LAUNCHES
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**Russian oil company Tatneft said that its Taneco refinery will be carrying out maintenance between June 10 and July 2. The works will secure safe and reliable work of the visbreaker and vacuum distillation. As the visbreaker, 2.4 million mt/year capacity, produces feedstock for the VDU, 2 million mt/year capacity, the two units are halted at the same time.
The remaining units will continue to operate normally.
**Refineries from the Ufa and Samara refinery hubs, the Moscow and Yaroslavl refineries are back from maintenance and getting back to normal capacity, deputy minister Pavel Sorokin said in a statement. In addition, other refineries are increasing runs. Refineries from the Ufa refining hub have works spread over the spring and summer months, sources have previously said. Ufaneftekhim was undergoing works on its primary processing, diesel hydrotreater and reformer between March and June. The Ufa refinery carried out works on its gasoline and diesel units in March and April, whereas Novoil was set to carry out works on its diesel hydrotreater from mid-March to mid-April. The Novokuybishev and Kuybishev facilities in the Samara refinery hub also carried out works on primary processing over April-June, sources said.
**Maintenance at Russia's Yaroslavl refinery started in April and was completed in mid-June.
**Russian company Gazprom's Astrakhan refinery, which predominantly processes gas condensate and produces only light products, is expected to be back around mid-July as its maintenance has been delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to trading sources. It started works on May 10 which were due to last 45 days.
**The Surgut gas condensate processing plant is expected to carry out works this summer, most likely after Astrakhan resumes operations.
**Russia's Ryazan, Komsomolsk and Salavat are back after works, sources said. Komsomolsk refinery in the Far East halted some units between May and June. Ryazan carried out works since April on primary processing and reformer units. Salavat had works since April
**Kazakhstan's Pavlodar is back after planned maintenance, which started at the end of April. As a result of the works, which were completed in mid-June, the refinery is prepared for safe operations in 2020-2021. The works included replacing internal elements, maintenance of furnaces and change of pipes.
**Russia's Perm is planning works in H2 2020, according to tender documents. Works will include catcracker and hydrocracker. The refinery is also carrying out partial works in May-June.
**Russia's Ukhta refinery will carry out full works in May and June. Lukoil had issued several tenders for cleaning the visbreaker and AVT (CDU-VDU) and AT-1 (CDU) primary processing units at Ukhta refinery.
**Russia's Orsk refinery plans works on 11 units in 2020, the refinery said. According to trading sources, works are starting in April. Its 2019 refinery maintenance schedule included works on seven units and was completed in November. The units that underwent maintenance included CDU VDU ELOU-AVT-3, a visbreaker, isomerization, bitumen unit, as well as reformer, and diesel hydrotreater.
**Maintenance at Russia's Volgograd will be carried out in autumn, sources said.
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**Russian oil company Tatneft said that it has completed the installation of a deisobutanizer at its Taneco refinery. The unit separates isobutane from normal butane with 350,000 mt/year feedstock capacity. The isobutane will be used as feedstock for the company's Tolyattikauchuk petrochemical plant for production of synthetic rubber. Taneco aims to complete a 1.1 million mt/year FCC construction in 2020 as well as a 3.7 million mt/year distillates hydrotreater. In 2021, the company aims to complete construction of a second delayed coker with 2 million mt/year capacity. It has two operating CDUs with 15.3 million mt/year total capacity, 2.9 million mt/year hydrocracker, 420,000 mt/year isomerization and 714,000 mt/year reformer units, a 2 million mt delayed coker as well as a 1.6 million mt/year diesel, 1.1 million mt/year naphtha and 0.5 million mt/year kerosene hydrotreaters. The refinery aims to process 11.456 million mt of crude oil and 719,800 mt other feedstock this year.
**Gazprom Neft said it has completed the installation of the upgraded L 35/11-600 catalytic reformer at the Omsk refinery. Two new compressors have been installed and three have been upgraded. Work is due for completion in 2020. Separately Omsk has completed installation of its new delayed coker. The 2 million mt/year unit will help halt fuel oil output, increase coke production and the depth of processing to 97% and light products yield to 80%. It will produce 38,700 mt/year of needle coke, which is used in the production of electrodes for the steel and aluminum industries. It is part of the deep processing complex at its Omsk refinery. The new delayed coker unit and upgrades to its existing coker were set to be completed in 2021. In 2021, the refinery will complete the construction of a new diesel dewaxing and hydrotreating unit, with 2.5 million mt/year capacity, which will replace two outdated units. Omsk has also completed the installation of the main equipment at the primary processing complex CDU-VDU. The complex, with 8.4 million mt/year capacity, will be completed in 2021, and allow the refinery to take six outdated units out of service. Separately, the refinery started a project for the upgrade of the AVT-10 primary processing complex with 8.6 million mt/year capacity. The project is due to be completed by the end of 2021.
**Kazakhstan's Pavodar refinery is looking to build a unit for purification of LPG and has selected a Merox technology. The refinery, which is processing mostly Western Siberian crude, said that recently the mercaptan sulfur content has increased and as the existing units cannot remove the mercaptans this results in deteriorated LPG quality.
**Socar expects the coronavirus pandemic to force changes to its rebuilding and renovation program at the Heydar Aliyev refinery and the Azerkimya petrochemical plant, a company spokesman told Platts. The spokesman said that as yet no changes to the anticipated completion dates had been confirmed, but that given that the pandemic has caused procurement delays it cannot be ruled out. The spokesman confirmed that the planned restarting after modernization at the Azerkimya ethylene and polyethylene plant in the middle of this year looked likely to be affected. The company could not rule out three to four months of delay, he said. Ongoing modernization of the Heydar Aliyev refinery is currently expected to see production of both Euro 5 diesel and Euro-5 standard A-92/95/98 gasoline start by the end of 2021 or early 2022. The ongoing work includes replacing all of the units of the refinery except one and in the process increase the capacity to 7.5 million mt/year from 6 million mt/year.
**Belarus Mozyr refinery is preparing for the launch of its new H-Oil hydrocracker, according to the country's Belta news agency. The equipment for the main feedstock pumps has been installed. The complex includes hydrocracker, hydrogen and sulfur units. The completion of the hydrocracker H-Oil complex at Mozyr will cut fuel oil output and increase light products. The quality of the fuel oil output will improve to less than 1% sulfur. The complex, with feedstock capacity of 3 million mt/year, will increase the light products yield to 70% and the depth of processing to 90%. Belarus Naftan has started testing the new delayed coker, while construction works are ongoing. The coker is expected to be completed and fully launched this year.
**Uzbekneftegaz has decided to proceed with an upgrade of its Bukhara and Fergan refineries and put on hold building a new refinery in the Jizzakh region, it has said previously. Upgrade of Uzbekistan's Fergan refinery continues with a project for the construction of an isomerization unit which will enable the refinery to produce Euro 4 and 5 gasoline. Uzbekneftegaz along with Ernst&Young is realizing a project for increasing efficiency at its production assets including at the refineries at Bukhara and Chinaz. The project includes increasing utilization rates, reducing maintenance costs, increasing the period between turnarounds.
**Russia's Salavat will launch its new FCC in 2020, it said in an in-house magazine. The FCC will have feedstock capacity of 1.095 million mt a year.
**The launch of four secondary units at the Mariisky refinery has been delayed, according to media reports. According to plans, after upgrades it expects to increase the AT-2's capacity to 1.4 million mt/year from 900,000 mt/year and the VDU capacity to 1 million mt/year from 476,000 mt/year.
**The modernization of Russia's Afipsky refinery has entered an active phase, the company said. It includes a hydrocracker, construction of which is under way. The complex, planned to process 2.5 million mt/year feedstock, is set for launch in the second half of 2022. In addition, the refinery plans to build a delayed coker.
**Russia's crude pipeline operator Transneft started sending Urals crude to the Ilsky refinery via the newly completed pipeline. It previously said shipments to Ilsky would start in 2019 and to the Afipsky refinery in 2020, both in the Krasnodar region. The pipeline's capacity is 4.5 million mt/year and can potentially be expanded to 9 million mt/year. Deliveries to Afispky will start after completion of upgrades, scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2020. Of the pipeline's capacity, 3 million mt/year will be delivered to Afispky and 1.5 million mt to Ilsky. The trunk line can be connected to two main pipelines: Tikhoretsk-Novorossiisk-2 and -3 and thus can be connected to the Urals pipeline and to the pipeline delivering Siberian Light to Novorossiisk, increasing the flexibility of supplies.
**Russia's Orsk has started the second phase of modernization, a key of which will be a delayed coker complex. Its completion in 2023 will provide additional feedstock for the hydrocracker, which was brought online in 2018, as well as increasing the depth of processing to over 98% and the light products yield to 84%.
**The Yaisky refinery is working on a deep processing complex, which will enable it to produce gasoline. The complex includes a gasoline hydrotreater, isomerization and CCR unit. It will produce over 700,000 mt/year Euro 5 gasoline.
**Ilsky refinery has five CDUs and is currently building another CDU, AT-6, with 3.6 million mt/year capacity, which will help increase its capacity to 6.6 million mt/year. It aims to launch the new unit in test mode around the end of 2020. Ilsky was planning a gasoline complex, including CCR unit, isomerization, gasoline hydrotreater, as well as distillate hydrotreater, hydrocracker and delayed coker.
**Russia's Rosneft reported progress of various upgrade projects. In Yaroslavl, owned by Rosneft and Gazprom Neft through Slavneft, a project has been approved for the construction of a deep processing complex. At the company's Achinsk refinery works are under way for reconstruction of the gas fractionation column of a crude distillation unit while at the Ufaneftekhim refinery continued the repairs of the hydrocracker following incidents. Russia's Bashneft, majority owned by Rosneft, has issued a tender for the reconstruction of the hydrocracker at Ufaneftekhim in late 2019. The unit has been damaged in a fire in July 2016.
**Russia's Moscow refinery will complete its modernization by 2023-2024, when as part of the third phase it will halt the production of fuel oil and achieve 99% depth of processing. It aims to complete the second phase of modernization by 2021, launching the new Euro+ complex, the refinery's managing director Vitaliy Zuber said. It plans to complete the testing of the complex and take out of service the outdated units next year. Construction of the new complex, which includes hydro treating, catalytic cracking, a catalytic reformer and visbreaking units, started in 2016. It will enable the refinery to remove five outdated units from operation, built in the 1950s and 1960s. The Euro+ complex will increase the light products yield to 60% and will allow the refinery to double its jet fuel output.
**Russia's Novoshakhtinsky refinery, in Rostov region, is starting work on a new project aimed at production of Euro-5 gasoline, the regional governor said. Completion is aimed for 2027. The plant has a 5 million mt/year nameplate capacity and was launched in 2009.
**McDermott International said it was awarded an engineering, procurement and construction contract by Lukoil for the delayed coker at the Nizhny Novgorod refinery in Russia. The delayed coker, which will process 2.1 million mt/year of residues, will be part of a deep processing complex, including a delayed coker, a diesel hydrotreater, gas fractionation, hydrogen and sulfur units. The complex has been scheduled for a 2021 start-up.
**The next stage of upgrades at the Antipinsky refinery in Russia involves increasing the capacity of the crude and refined product pipelines. Antipinsky, which can process 9 million-9.5 million mt/year of crude, currently gets 7.5 million mt/year of crude.
**A delayed coker will be installed at the Turkmenbashi refining complex in Turkmenistan.
**Rosneft, Russia's largest crude producer, plans to complete its refinery modernization program by 2025. The program includes construction and reconstruction of over 50 units, with work on more than 30 of the units having been finished.
**A new refinery is planned to be launched in Georgia, at the Black Sea port of Kulevi, in 2024, according to media reports. Construction of the 4 million mt/year plant is due to start in 2021, according to Fazis Oil, the reports said. The refinery is expected to have 98% depth of processing and produce Euro 5 and 6 gasoline and diesel and thus reduce Georgia's import needs for oil products by 15%-20%.
**Russia's Khabarovsk refinery plans to build a second phase to the plant close to the existing site, according to reports. The second phase would double the refinery's capacity to 10 million mt/year, and aims to cover gasoline demand in the far east of Russia. The company is seeking an investor in the Asia-Pacific region for the second phase of the plant, which includes an FCC, hydrotreater and a delayed coker.