OMV Aktiengesellschaft, Vienna, is determining the extent of repairs required to restart its 9.6-million tonne/year refinery at its integrated complex in Schwechat, Austria, following an early June mechanical upset impacting the site’s main crude oil distillation unit at the end of its 2022 turnaround (OGJ Online, June 3, 2022).
Immediately following the June 3 incident that injured two workers, OMV set up an on-site task force both to investigate what caused the event and to begin work on restoring operations, the operator said June 10. Without disclosing further details, OMV confirmed that the task force had determined the incident—which occurred during a legally required water-pressure test as part of final turnaround works—resulted in “significant” damage to the crude unit.
First-phase investigation activities are ongoing, with the task force working through an inspection checklist based on a selection of unidentified, non-destructive testing methods, as well as taking material samples to perform lab tests looking for defects, according to OMV.
Work is also under way on a detailed repair concept, the first step of which includes optimizing procurement of necessary materials. Once this has occurred, OMV said it will be able to identify the most suitable methods by which to carry out repairs and determine a repair timeline.
With the duration of the repair phase still to be determined, OMV has established a new supply system to ensure deliveries to markets served by the Schwechat refinery while the crude unit remains offline, the company said.
Alongside securing temporary supplies of downstream feedstock and products from other OMV refineries to compensate for losses from Schwechat’s main crude unit, the operator said it is maximizing distillation capacity of a smaller available crude unit to ensure OMV’s Austrian oil production continues to be processed without restriction.
In addition to examining short-term adjustments to increase capacities of production units that remain online at the refinery, OMV is cooperating with partners and logistics affiliates to purchase products that will replace supply shortfalls at Schwechat during the repair period.
Until the temporary supply system is fully in place, the Austrian government’s release of fuel reserves will help supply product to the market, according to OMV.
On June 4, Austrian media reported the government released 90-days of the country’s strategic oil reserves, including 112,000 tonnes of diesel and 56,000 tonnes of gasoline, which was to cover about 6 days of Austrian consumption.