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MOL: INA refinery reopening dependent on external environment

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Until production at the Sisak refinery of Croatia's INA resumes, INA's Rijeka refinery is expected to take over production, the company's Hungarian majority owner MOL said late yesterday.

INA said earlier that it had temporarily shut down production at its oil refinery in Sisak. "A drastic fall in oil prices weakens the profitability of our exploration and production segment and we have to make an additional effort to improve the profitability of the refinery business. In that context we decided to temporarily suspend production in Sisak on January 14," the company said in an announcement.

It said that the reason behind the halt was a depletion of local crude stock. It added that the suspension in production does not mean the refinery will be shut down or that workers will lose their jobs.

A spokesman for MOL said last autumn that extending the lifespan of the Sisak refinery would not be worth it.

MOL, which exercises management rights in INA, by agreement with the Croatian government, the other big stakeholder, has noted that INA's refinery capacities exceed Croatian market demand and face challenges in terms of competitiveness. Speculation that one of the refineries will be shut down has caused concern on the Croatian side.

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