Russian Oil Facilities Hit by Drone Attacks, Fires

January 29, 2024

© evannovostro / Adobe Stock
© evannovostro / Adobe Stock

Russia energy infrastructure has been hit by drone attacks and fires in the past month, adding to uncertainty in global oil and gas markets already rocked by the conflict in the Middle East.

Russia and Ukraine have targeted each other's energy infrastructure in strikes designed to disrupt supply lines and logistics and to demoralise their opponent as they try to get the edge in a nearly two-year-old war that shows no sign of ending.

Following are recent major incidents at Russian oil facilities in the past month:
* A Russian appointed official said on Jan. 18 that Ukraine had tried and failed to target a Russian Baltic Sea oil terminal with a drone. Ukraine said it had hit targets in St Petersburg with domestic-made drone.

Mikhail Skigin, a co-owner of the St Petersburg Oil Terminal, told RBC media that the air defense had thwarted a "monstrous catastrophe", which could lead to human losses and ecological damage to the Baltic Sea.

* Four oil tanks at a large storage facility in the town of Klintsy in Russia's western Bryansk region caught fire on Jan. 19 after the military brought down a Ukrainian strike drone, the regional governor said. A spokesperson for Ukraine's military intelligence agency neither confirmed nor denied Ukraine's involvement.

* A fire tore through Ryazan oil refinery, Russia's third-largest, on Jan 19, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper said, quoting emergency services.

* Russian energy giant Novatek on Jan. 21 was forced to suspend some operations at the huge Baltic Sea fuel export terminal at Ust-luga as well as "technological processes" at a nearby fuel-producing complex due to a fire, started by what Ukrainian media said was a drone attack.

Russia will likely cut exports of naphtha by some 127,500-136,000 barrels per day, or around a third of its total exports, after fires disrupted operations at refineries on the Baltic and Black Seas, according to traders and LSEG ship-tracking data.

* Rosneft's Tuapse oil refinery in southern Russia halted oil processing and output on Jan. 26 following a fire, two industry sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. A Ukrainian source said Ukrainian drones attacked the refinery on the shores of the Black Sea.

* Russia's second-largest oil producer Lukoil has halted a unit at NORSI, Russia's fourth largest refinery, located near the city of Nizhny Novgorod, some 430 km (270 miles) east of Moscow, after an "incident".

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Jan. 27 that repair work would take at least a month or a month and a half.

* Russian air defenses thwarted a drone attack on Jan. 29 on the Slavneft-YANOS oil refinery in the city of Yaroslavl, northeast of Moscow, regional governor Mikhail Yevrayev said.


(Reuters - Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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