ORLEN Unipetrol’s oil refinery in Litvínov in northwestern Czechia can cope with the transition to using exclusively non-Russian grades from a technological perspective, according to a three-week test conducted last month when the refinery processed exclusively non-Russian crude oil for the first time in its history.
ORLEN Unipetrol, a Czech subsidiary of the Polish ORLEN Group, is the owner of the largest oil refinery in Czechia with a capacity of 5.8 million tonnes of processed crude oil per year.
The gradual modernisation of the plant, also in the matter of alignment of the production and consecutive processes to a new crude mixture, will ensure security of fuel supplies to the Czech market and increase the company’s competitiveness on the international market, ORLEN Unipetrol said in a press release.
“As a landlocked country with historic ties to the Druzhba pipeline, Czechia asked the European Union (EU) for an exemption from the ban on pipeline imports of Russian crude. The EU granted the exemption, thus creating a time frame to boost transport capacities, which will satisfy the Czech demand for crude oil from alternative sources. That is absolutely crucial for switching to non-Russian crude. It will significantly reinforce Czechia’s stability and safety,” said Tomasz Wiatrak, CEO of ORLEN Unipetrol. “I am happy the Czech Republic takes the necessary steps responsibly. That is what our company does, too. We are working to implement further technological modifications in the Litvínov Refinery to start processing only non-Russian crude as soon as the TAL pipeline increases its capacity.”
Czechia’s main condition necessary to switch from Russian oil however is the boosted capacity of the Transalpine Pipeline (TAL), which is set to be completed at the end of 2024. As a result, ORLEN Unipetrol’s refineries will process solely non-Russian crude, and the Czech Republic will no longer depend on Russian supplies.