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Kazakhstan Interested in Buying Stakes in Belarusian Refineries

Friday 30 March 2012

(Bloomberg) – Kazakhstan will look at bidding for state stakes in Belarusian refineries, said Yergali Bulegenov, the Central Asian country’s ambassador to Belarus.

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Novopolotsk oil refinery is an important part of the industrial system of Belorussia. Construction of the plant started in 1958. In 2002 Naftan Novopolotsk Production Association Republican Unitary Enterprise was restructured into Naftan Open Joint-Stock Company. In 2005, production of black oil made 30% of crude oil material. The decrease of its portion down to 22.4% was due to reconstruction of the current production facilities, since there were no sufficient capacities of the secondary processes along with increase of the volume of primary processing of the crude oil material. With optimal processing of oil from the point of balance with secondary processes and the achieved technological level, the output of black oil makes 21-23%% of the total oil volume. Production of diesel fuel with sulphur content of 0.2% was terminated. Only ecologically friendly diesel fuel of EN 590 brand, type F and C is produced (sulphur content 50 and 10 ppm, respectively).

“Kazakhstan would be interested in taking part in the privatization of any stake in Belarusian oil refineries to be able to sell petroleum products to Europe at higher prices,” Bulegenov told reporters in the Belarusian capital, Minsk today.

Belarus plans to sell US $12.5 billion in assets in the next five years, according to the government and central bank’s joint strategy published on Jan. 20. Sales this year, including companies linked to the oil industry, may bring in at least $2.5 billion, State Property Committee Chairman Georgy Kuznetsov said Feb. 17.

Belarus is considering sales of a controlling stake in Naftan, one of its two refineries, Interfax reported, citing First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko on March 19. The potential investor should pay a fair market price and double or triple the amount of taxes it pays into the Belarusian budget in the first 5 to 10 years after the acquisition, while maintaining Naftan’s jobs, wages, and social services at their current level, the Russian news service said, citing Semashko.

Naftan can process 170,000 barrels of crude a day, according to the refinery.

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