Despite the challenging business climate, Croatian oil and gas company INA, a member of Hungary’s MOL Group, submitted an application to the Ministry of the Economy and Entrepreneurship to grant its advanced ethanol biorefinery project at its Sisak oil refinery the status of a strategic investment project for the country.
One of the activities in Sisak would be to develop a biorefinery thanks to which the company could produce second-generation bioethanol from biomass along with producing green energy. It is an investment worth 250 million euros, a part of which will be provided by the European Union.
Earlier this year, INA signed a license agreement with the French group AXENS as the first step in the construction of the plant. Also, at the end of 2019, it signed a contract with the Belgian company De Smet Engineers & Contractors to design the relevant base facility and its integration in the existing refinery structure.
Furthermore, two harvests of the energy crop Miscanthus have been carried out. The results confirmed Miscanthus as a suitable feedstock for the production of second-generation bioethanol. For the purposes of establishing a raw material supply chain, investments in agriculture are estimated at 50 million euros. For this, it is also planned to use funds from rural development funds, primarily for activities related to the establishment of plantations of the energy plant Miscanthus, which includes the activation of neglected agricultural land.
“The development of the biorefinery project is in line with the company’s development guidelines and is proof of our commitment to the New Direction program,” said the president of INA’s management board, Sándor Fasimon. “The location in Sisak is an important part of INA’s business and all the activities we undertake are the preconditions that need to be achieved in order to be able to make a final investment decision. It is also important to note that the support of the EU and the Government of the Republic of Croatia are key prerequisites for the final implementation of this important project for the Republic of Croatia and INA, which with all its elements fits into the European Green Deal and European Energy Strategy.”
INA’s New Direction 2023 programme foresees concentrating oil production at the Rijeka Refinery and transforming the Sisak complex into an industrial centre. In addition to the biorefinery component, other alternative locations in Sisak include the production of bitumen, which should be operational in the first half of 2021 and followed by the production of lubricants for which a feasibility study is being conducted.