Unipetrol updates status of Litvinov ethylene complex, refinery

Unipetrol AS has rented available crude oil storage capacity from the Czech Republic’s Administration of State Material Reserves (ASMR) storage site amid ongoing reduced crude processing rates at Unipetrol subsidiary Ceska Rafinerska AS’s (CRC) nearby 5.4 million-tonne/year (tpy) Litvinov refinery (OGJ Online, Aug. 14, 2015).

The tank will be used for short-term storage of the Litinov refinery’s unprocessed crude supplies as the refinery continues to limit throughputs and reduce feedstock production for the nearby Chempark Zaluzi petrochemical complex’s 544,000-tpy ethylene plant, which the company shut down following an Aug. 13 explosion and ensuing fire at the unit, said Marek Sitajewski, Unipetrol’s chief executive officer and chairman.

The company will pay more than 4 million koruna/month ($166,745) as part of the rental agreement, which runs through Oct. 31 with a possibility of extension through yearend.

Unipetrol said it can store as much as 100,000 tonnes of crude in the tank, which is at state-owned Mero CR AS’ central crude oil tank farm in Nelahozeves where ASMR stores strategic emergency crude oil reserves.

Mero, the only transporter of crude oil into the Czech Republic, owns and operates the Czech section of the Druzba crude oil pipeline as well as the IKL crude pipeline, both of which connect to the Nelahozeves storage site where the company holds 16 tanks with a combined crude storage capacity of 1.55 million cu m.

Operations at Chempark Zaluzi

Petrochemical production remains shuttered at Unipetrol’s Chempark Zaluzi, with the complex’s steam cracker, polypropylene unit, and two polyethylene units to remain offline until further notice, the company said in its latest update to investors.

Access to impacted units at the complex remains limited to a team of safety experts executing preventative checks designed to ensure working conditions are safe for maintenance crews at the site.

Unipetrol said an assessment of the full extent of damages to processing units and a plan for necessary repairs will begin once company specialists receive clearance for full access to the complex.

A joint investigation into the incident remains under way with a special team of Czech Republic police and fire officials.

The company said it still expects a period of months rather than weeks before production of petrochemicals is fully restored at the complex (OGJ Online, Aug. 26, 2015).

While production of gasoline and diesel remains limited at the Litvinov refinery, CRC’s 3.3 million-tpy Kralupy refinery continues to run at full capacity, according to Unipetrol.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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