“STEAS” division head on STAR refinery plans

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"SOCAR Turkiye Enerji" (SOCAR's Turkish subsidiary, "STEAS") plans to raise capacity of "STAR" refinery from 11.3 million tons to 12 million tons per year in 2023, head of "SOCAR Turkey Refining and Petrochemical Business Unit" (a branch of "SOCAR Turkiye Enerji" - "STEAS") Anar Mammadov told Azerbaijani journalists in Izmir during the press tour.

At present, the refinery meets 20-25% of Turkey's needs in the main types of oil products, and 55-60% of oil products produced at the refinery account for diesel. The refinery provides naphtha as raw material for the "Petkim" petrochemical complex. And "Petkim" is a shareholder of this refinery.

"Our priority is to supply petroleum products to the Turkish market. But sometimes we are better off exporting diesel and jet paraffin because of better logistics. And we occasionally enter the Mediterranean market with them, as well as with raw materials for the chemical industry," Mammadov said.

Note that SOCAR invested about $7bln in the construction of the "STAR" refinery, and it was commissioned on 19 October 2018 with the capacity to process such oil grades as "Azeri Light", "Kerkuk" and "Urals", over 20 oil grades in total. At the same time, by its design, the refinery is most suitable for processing heavy grades of oil, such as those from Kazakhstan, Africa and the Black Sea region.

Note that "STAR" refinery is designed for annual production of 1.6 million tons of naphtha, 1.6 million tons of jet fuel, 4.8 million tons of diesel with very low sulfur content, 700.000 tons of petroleum coke, 420.000 tons of mixed xylene, 480.000 tons of reformate and 160.000 tons of sulfur.

In April, "STEAS" shareholders decided that "Petkim"s stake in the refinery would be reduced to 12 per cent from 18 per cent.

In 2024, the refinery will halt operations for 45-60 days for preventive maintenance work.

Asked by Turan why this decision was adopted, Mammadov explained, "The two facilities operate with different margins, and this is not a good situation for shareholders. Since the refinery and "Petkim" are mutually integrated in terms of operations and shareholders' work, a decision was adopted to reduce "Petkim"s stake in the refinery to preserve capex and ensure international credit obligations. It will optimise the operation of both facilities. I do not rule out that the stakes will change over time. With "Petkim"s stable liquidity and high return on projects, this company, in which SOCAR holds the controlling interest, can raise the share".

Asked whether the refinery gets oil from Russia, Mammadov said: "We adhere to all international sanctions (against Russia - editor's note) ... In general, we have enough opportunities to buy different types of oil. We try not to take Azerbaijan's oil, because it is expensive and light. We take mostly heavy oil on the open market".

Source: Turan News Agency