January 31, 2019 / 10:29 AM / 7 months ago

Bosnia's sole oil refinery halts operation for maintenance

SARAJEVO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Bosnia’s sole oil refinery Brod said it had halted operations this month for an overhaul which may take a year.

The refinery, which is majority owned by Russia’s Neftegazinkor, a unit of state-owned oil company Zarubezhneft, was shut on Jan. 9 to assess the works needed to restore the refinery to full capacity, a spokeswoman for Brod told Reuters.

Petar Djokic, energy minister for Bosnia’s autonomous Serb Republic, where the refinery is located, told local media on Thursday that production may resume next year.

In the meantime, demand would be covered through imports from Serbian oil company NIS, majority owned by Russia’s Gazprom Neft, he added.

The refinery was hit by a blast in October which killed one worker and injured nine. The results of the inquiry into the cause of the explosion have not been made public.

Auditors have warned that the refinery, which processes 1.2 million tonnes of crude a year, may face liquidity problems after it piled up losses and its liabilities exceeded assets.

Brod has dismissed those claims. (Reporting by Maja Zuvela Editing by Alexander Smith)

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