Czech oil, petchem producer Unipetrol shuts refining unit

28 May 2012 12:17  [Source: ICIS news]

Petrochemical plantLONDON (ICIS)--Unipetrol has indefinitely halted crude oil refining at its Paramo unit because of weak demand, the Czech-based oil and petrochemical group said on Monday.

The 20,000 bbl/day Paramo refinery, in Pardubice, east of Prague, would be restarted if and when the market situation warranted it, Unipetrol added.

In March, when Unipetrol revised its 2011 net loss to koruna (Kc) 5.91bn ($291.6m, €232.2m) from the initially released figure of Kc2.81bn, the group noted that loss-making Paramo, also a bitumen and lubricants unit, had been hit by a revised one-off impairment charge - which had increased to Kc1.72bn from Kc1.28bn.

Unipetrol is working on a possible restructuring of Paramo which may include permanently closing its crude refining operations, it said.

The company has this year also been under pressure from petrochemical margins caused by all-time high naphtha feedstock prices.

However, in April, while announcing a first-quarter petrochemical operating loss of Kc236m, Unipetrol said the lows of its combined model petrochemical margin seemed to be bottoming out.

Unipetrol is 63% owned by Poland's PKN Orlen oil and petrochemicals group.

($1 = €0.80, $1 = Kc20.27, €1 = Kc25.45)

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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