NOVOPOLOTSK, 27 January (BelTA) – The first batch of Norwegian oil arrived at Belarus' Naftan oil refinery in Novopolotsk early on 26 January, BelTA has learned.
A train consisting of 59 cars with the total volume of about 3,500 tonnes arrived at the Novopolotsk rail station from the Klaipeda port at 8.10 on 26 January. The whole batch of Norwegian oil (86,000 tonnes), delivered by Breiviken, is to be supplied to the plant within the next two weeks.
“The distance between the Norwegian coast, where the tanker is loaded, and our enterprise is 2,300km. The delivery took less than seven days. The first train from the Klaipeda port reached the Novopolotsk station within a day. Technological operations on oil discharge and its preparation for processing are underway. After that we will start processing it. The rest of the batch will be delivered by one or two trains per day,” said Naftan Director General Aleksandr Demidov.
According to him, the Norwegian grade of North Sea oil, which the Belarusian plant received, is called Johan Sverdrup. It has been produced on an industrial scale on the Norwegian continental shelf since Q4 2019. “This oil is already called a competitor to the Russian Urals. It entered the market quite confidently due to its quality characteristics. For example, the sulphur content in this oil is twice less than that in Urals, and the yield of light oil products at its processing, as laboratory analysis showed, is slightly higher than that of Urals. In my opinion, the potential and prospects for this grade, compared to Urals, are very promising,” the Naftan head said.
Aleksandr Demidov said that it would be possible to say more about further prospects of using Norwegian oil after all the analyses are conducted. “We have bought this grade for the first time. We will look into all aspects. In our opinion, this grade is not bad. Another important aspect is that the raw materials are purchased without mediators, directly from one of the companies involved in the Norwegian oil production project. Besides, we have developed good relations with the suppliers,” the director general added.
Aleksandr Demidov stressed that the plant had been tasked to use alternative sources for raw materials on a systematic basis. “This is what we are doing today. We have a database of technical grades. We are currently optimizing it, keeping track of new grades, selecting the most optimal of them in terms of technological parameters and economy,” the Naftan head said.
After the necessary operations on the oil input quality control were completed, the first tonnes of oil were supplied to the Naftan tanks.
On 1 January Russia stopped delivering oil to Belarus. Belarusian oil refineries – Mozyr Oil Refinery and OAO Naftan – reduced their workload to the minimum the technology allows. On 4 January Belneftekhim announced its agreement with a Russian company for the first batch of oil without paying a premium. The Belarusian government said that ways for alternative oil supplies are under consideration.
Photos by Aleksandr Khitrov