Rompetrol Rafinare SA—jointly owned by Kazakhstan’s state-owned JSC NC KazMunayGas subsidiary KMG International NV (54.63%) and Romania’s Ministry of Economy, Energy & Business Environment (44.69%)—plans to resume operations at its 5-million tonne/year Petromidia refinery in Năvodari, Romania, on the Black Sea, by the end of third-quarter 2021 following an early July explosion and subsequent fire that led to the plant’s sitewide shutdown (OGJ Online, July 7, 2021).
Based on the current work plan and pending delivery of equipment necessary for repairs and inspections of units affected by the July 2 incident, Rompetrol intends to restart production activities at the refinery by the end of September, the operator said on Aug. 16.
The proposed restart, however, remains contingent on verification and testing of equipment, as well as approval and certification of processing installations by regulatory authorities, according to Rompetrol.
In a separate release on Aug. 17, Rompetrol said it has now submitted its application to the Romanian Ministry of Environment’s National Agency for Environmental Protection for approval of the repair project. While the notice confirmed the project will involve works to repair and upgrade installations impacted by the incident—including the refinery’s catalytic reformer, diesel hydrotreating unit and reactor, and gas fractionator—the operator did not indicate an anticipated timeframe for the application’s approval.
In the meantime, Rompetrol said it currently is carrying out electrical, engineering, and other unidentified repair works in areas affected by the July event.
Announcement of the refinery’s planned restart follows the Aug. 13 release of the operator’s first-half 2021 financial report to investors in which Felix Crudu-Tesloveanu—Rompetrol Rafinare’s general manager—said he expects the Petromidia refinery to return to normal operational capabilities in the fourth quarter.
With an investigation into the incident presumably still under way, Rompetrol has yet to reveal a cause of the July explosion and fire, which originated in the refinery’s diesel hydrotreating plant.