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Italy’s Saras to Halt Units at Sarroch Oil Refinery This Quarter

Italy’s Saras SpA is to carry out planned maintenance this quarter on at least five processing units at its Sarroch refinery, the largest in the Mediterranean.

“In the second quarter, the Sarroch refinery shall undergo scheduled maintenance work at the two mild hydrocracking units MHC1 and MHC2, at the visbreaking unit VSB, at one crude distillation unit T1 and also at one vacuum unit V1,” the Milan-based company said today in a statement, without giving exact dates of the halts.

The Sarroch refinery in Sardinia can process 300,000 barrels of crude a day, according to the company’s website. That represents about 15 percent of Italy’s refining capacity.

The refiner has “suspended all commercial relationships” with Libya’s national oil company following sanctions imposed by the United Nations and the European Union, it said in the statement. Saras was using 35 percent to 40 percent of Libyan crude and as a result has had to start “to introduce alternative crude oils in the refinery.”

In the first quarter, Saras was able to use Libyan oil held in inventories, it said. An alkylation unit was idled for maintenance during the quarter and work on mild hydrocracker 1, which was also scheduled to halt during this time, was pushed back to the second quarter because of higher profits from making fuels such as diesel, the company said.

Saras’s refining profits soared to $7.60 a barrel in the first quarter from 90 cents a year earlier, according to the statement.

Hydrocrackers produce distillates such as diesel and jet fuel. Visbreakers raise the amount of diesel and gasoil that can be processed from heavy oil-products.

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