Bad News for Russia: Drone Strikes Cripple Nearly 10% of Fuel Production

Written by Henrik Rothen

Mar.18 - 2024 9:49 PM CET

Drone Strikes Cripple Nearly 10% of Fuel Production.

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Ukraine's drone strikes on Russia's largest oil refineries in March have led to a significant disruption in the country's fuel production, with nearly 10% of its capacity paralyzed.

According to Euromaiden Press, based on data from industry sources, 13% of the total capacity of existing primary oil refining units at Russian refineries are currently in emergency shutdown mode.

Specifically, for refineries producing gasoline and diesel fuel, the Russian economy has experienced a loss of about 9% of production, translating to 77.4 thousand tons per day in terms of refined oil. The impact of these UAV raids has been substantial, with the accumulated emergency downtime at the refinery reaching 3.5 million tons. This figure is ten times more than the total for the previous two years, highlighting the significant escalation in attacks and their effectiveness.

The number of damaged oil refining installations has tripled, and by mid-March, the volume of emergency downtime was 1.4 times higher than planned repairs. Notable incidents include a UAV strike on March 12 that damaged the Lukoil oil refinery Nizhny Novgorod-NOS, resulting in a near halving of diesel fuel production and a 25% reduction in gasoline production.

Following this, on March 13, Rosneft’s largest oil refinery in Ryazan, a key supplier of fuel to Moscow and the surrounding region, was also hit. The attack led to the shutdown of two units, causing a loss of a third of the plant's gasoline production and more than half of its diesel fuel production.

Another UAV attack on March 16 targeted Rosneft's refinery in Syzran, halting the only operating oil refining unit and stopping the production of 4.3 thousand tons of diesel fuel and 2 thousand tons of gasoline daily. The reserve unit, AVT-5, has been idle for years, and its reactivation will not only take time but also result in reduced production capacities.

These disruptions have led to a spike in wholesale fuel prices, with the cost of AI-95 gasoline at the St. Petersburg International Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange reaching a record high since September, marking a 12% increase since early March. Similarly, the prices of AI-92 gasoline and winter diesel have hit their highest levels since October and November, respectively.

The attacks on Russia's oil refineries underscore the vulnerability of critical infrastructure and the significant impact such strikes can have on a nation's economy and energy security.

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