The Rijeka oil refinery has started fuel production at full capacity, after a five-month stoppage during which work on the modernization and renovation of the existing facilities was completed, it was said on Thursday at the Rijeka refinery in Urinje.
Economy Minister Davor Filipovic and President of the INA Management Board Peter Ratatics were on a tour of the refinery, accompanied by members of the INA management and other representatives of the Economy and Sustainable Development Ministry.
The work on the brownfield part of the refinery upgrade project, namely the upgrade of the existing facilities, has been completed, the director of the Rijeka Oil Refinery Upgrade Project, Vedrana Janjic, said at the presentation of the completed work. She noted that about 76 percent of total work on the entire upgrade of the refinery, in which about €630 million is being invested, has been completed.
Work continues on the project’s greenfield investment, that is, the construction of completely new plants, but this will not affect production, Janjic said. Among other things, a plant for the treatment of heavy residues is being built, and a port for the delivery of raw materials, a silo for coke and a transport system for coke are being completed.
Due to work on existing facilities as part of the Rijeka Oil Refinery upgrade project, processing was suspended in November 2022. This was planned due to the need to upgrade and increase the capacity of the process units SRU – Sulfur Recovery Unit and HCU – Hydrocracking, to adapt them to the new plant for the treatment of heavy residues. At the hydrocracking plant, a new Stripper Product column, 38 meters high and weighing more than 110 tonnes, was installed.
INA Management Board President Ratatics pointed out that the completion of the brownfield phase is one of the most important steps in the refinery upgrade project, which modernizes it and increases its fuel production capacity. At the same time, it enables increased diesel production to meet the entire needs of Croatia, as well as the countries of the region, and reduces the need for imports and ensures supply security, he added.
Ratatics said the Rijeka Oil Refinery upgrade project will be completed by the middle of next year.
All further work on the project will take place simultaneously with the operation of the refinery. The next planned shutdown of the refinery is expected at the beginning of 2024.
Minister Davor Filipovic pointed out that this investment by INA is a guarantee of the future of the Rijeka refinery. “With this €630 million euro investment by INA in the modernization of the Rijeka refinery, in the facility for the treatment of heavy residues, the future of the refinery business in Croatia is secured. However, this is not only a matter of business and processing of oil derivatives, but an important element of Croatia’s energy security, which together with other policies that we are implementing, makes Croatia more resilient to possible external shocks and changes in the environment,” said Filipovic.
He confirmed that 70 percent of the works as part of the refinery upgrade project are performed by Croatian companies. In addition to Croatia, after the completion of the works, the refinery will be able to supply fuel to the markets of BiH, Slovenia, and parts of Montenegro and Italy, he said.