Belarusian refineries on the verge of collapse
The authorities planned to trade oil products with Russia, but they are not needed there / collage by Ulad Rubanau, Euroradio
The products of Belarusian oil refineries are not needed in Russia, although the government really wants to sell them there.
Belarusian oil refineries are working at half capacity and have almost completely filled their warehouses. Enterprises are trying to save themselves with repairs.
Oil refining, one of the most profitable industries in Belarus back in 2021, traditionally earned its money from exports to Europe and Ukraine. Sanctions and the position of the Belarusian authorities in the war against Ukraine deprived Belarus of these markets.
Euroradio researched how Naftan and Mozyr refineries operate, and why there is a surplus of fuel, but it will get more expensive. We also tried to understand why the products of the Belarusian oil refineries are not needed in Russia, although the government really wants to sell them there.
"The tanks are full -- they pour everything directly into the tanks on wheels"
The facilities are loaded to the minimum, according to the source of the People's anti-crisis management in the Belarusian oil refining. Naftan consumes 11 thousand tons of oil per day, and the Mazyr refinery needs 14 thousand tons. For Mazyr this is about 45% of the usual load.
At the same time, employees of the Mazyr refinery will get a hundred percent bonus. We expect to receive a quarterly bonus in early May, though with a delay.
"They understand that if people start leaving the plant, they will not be able to stop this process. There is a shortage of qualified personnel: a lot of them were fired a year and a half ago. And you can't buy experience.
Russia will not create a competitor
Previously, Naftan and the Mazyr oil refinery boosted the industry and brought hard currency into the country. Now we have to spend money on the upkeep of these enterprises. The problem can only be solved by exports, as the domestic market is very limited, says oil and gas industry observer Tatsiana Manyonak.
"Also, the demand for petroleum products has fallen in Russia because of sanctions and production compression," says Sergei Kondratyev, deputy head of the economic department at the Institute of Energy and Finance Foundation of Russia.
"Plus there is quite a serious pressure on exports. European buyers have abandoned or significantly reduced their purchases. The reduction in purchases leads to the fact that it is necessary to provide large discounts".
It turns out that the only available market is becoming smaller.
Fuel is plentiful, but it will get more expensive
The authorities cannot really help the Naftan and Mazyr refineries. Despite a surplus of fuel, it is left to regularly raise the price by two kopecks instead of one.
"The price increase was explained by the fact that the price in dollars does not go up. Now it will be more difficult because of the settlement for oil in Russian rubles. The expenses of the plants are going up. This problem will to a certain extent fall on the consumer," continues Tatsiana Manyonak.
Theoretically, Belarus can supply its oil products to Europe via Russia under the guise of Russian ones.