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Reuters: Russia faces difficulties repairing oil refineries due to US sanctions

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 4, 2024 4:13 PM 3 min read
An employee looks out over the illuminated petroleum cracking complex at the Lukoil-Nizhegorodnefteorgsintez oil refinery, operated by OAO Lukoil, in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, on Dec. 4, 2014. (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Russian companies are facing difficulties in repairing oil refineries due to Western sanctions, and Ukrainian drone attacks could worsen the problem, Reuters reported on April 4, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

Ukrainian forces have launched a series of drone strikes aimed at damaging Russia's oil industry. A total of 12 Russian oil refineries were reportedly successfully hit in multiple regions deep inside Russian territory as of March 17.

There was only one company that knew how to repair the gasoline-producing unit at Lukoil PJSC's NORSI plant in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, which was attacked on March 12. It was an American multinational oil engineering company UOP that withdrew from Russia after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, five sources told Reuters.

After engineers were unable to find spare parts for repairs, "the whole unit just stopped," according to Reuters's sources.

The unit, which is used to convert heavier hydrocarbons into gasoline, has been out of service since January, and it is unclear when it can be repaired due to a lack of expertise in Russia, Reuters reported.

The fourth-biggest Russian refinery, NORSI, reduced gasoline production by 40% as a result, two sources told Reuters.

Ukrainian drones hit one Russian oil refinery after another
Ukraine faces a challenging problem: how to stop a resurgent Moscow in its tracks long enough to rotate the troops, resupply, and fortify. Part of the answer is playing out right now in the skies over Russia. Over the past two weeks, at least dozens of Ukrainian drones reportedly struck

The difficulties have been compounded by Ukrainian drone attacks, which hit at least 12 Russian oil refineries this year, according to the news agency's industry sources. Reuters estimated that these attacks forced Russian refineries to shut in about 14% of their capacity in the first quarter.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak claimed that the damaged facilities should resume operations within a month or two as Russian firms work to produce the necessary spare components.

The Financial Times reported in March that the U.S. warned Ukraine to stop attacking Russian oil refineries, allegedly out of concern that strikes could raise global oil prices. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on April 2 that Washington has "neither supported nor enabled strikes by Ukraine outside of its territory."

President Volodymyr Zelensky said that targeting Russian oil and weapons facilities is a legitimate military strategy and that Ukraine has a right to use its own weapons for self-defense.

How Ukraine hit a Russian drone factory 1,300 kilometers away
For the first time since the start of the full-scale invasion, Ukraine attacked facilities in Russia’s Tatarstan Republic, some 1,300 kilometers from the country’s border. On April 2, overnight, drones attacked production facilities in the cities of Yelabuga and Nizhnekamsk, Tatarstan Head Rustam M…
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