Motor Oil Plans Crude Unit Halt at Corinth Refinery in January

Motor Oil Hellas SA, the second-largest Greek refiner, plans to halt the older of two crude units at its Corinth plant for maintenance in January.

Work on the 110,000 barrel-a-day crude processor will last about three weeks, Petros Tzannetakis, Motor Oil’s chief financial officer, said today in a telephone interview from Athens where the company is based.

The crude unit was expected to halt for three to four weeks in the second quarter of this year. The maintenance was delayed until 2011 as a new 65,000 barrel-a-day crude unit started production in June.

The refinery can process 175,000 barrels of oil a day, and is 70 kilometers (44 miles) outside Athens in the province of Corinth. It uses Russian Urals crude and oil from the Middle East. Hellenic Petroleum SA is Greece’s largest refiner.

Refining margins, or the profits from turning oil into fuels such as gasoline and diesel, in the Mediterranean increased to $3.55 a barrel this quarter to Nov. 25, according to data by BP Plc. That compares with $2.70 in the previous three months and 79 cents in the fourth quarter of 2009, the data show.

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