March 27, 2007 / 5:16 PM / 12 years ago

Miro restarts German refinery, not hit by Lavera

LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - The joint venture Miro refinery in Karlsruhe, Germany, will return to full operations by the end of this week after a planned maintenance shutdown, a plant official said on Tuesday.

The turnaround, shutting two-thirds of the 310,000-barrels-per-day refinery’s crude distillation capacity from early March, has meant the plant has been unaffected by the Fos-Lavera oil port strike in southern France.

“We receive about 50 percent of our crude oil via the SPSE (Societe du Pipeline Sud Europeen) pipeline from Lavera-Fos and the other 50 percent from Trieste via the TAL (Transalpine Pipeline),” the Miro refinery official told Reuters.

“We have not been affected (by the strike) as we have a turnaround at Miro at the moment, so there’s no need for crude from Lavera,” he added.

He said it would “at least another couple of weeks” before the Karlsruhe refinery may need to draw on crude from Lavera.

Miro is jointly owned by Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), ExxonMobil (XOM.N), Ruhr Oel and ConocoPhillips (COP.N).

The two-week strike at the Fos-Lavera oil hub, which French unions voted on Tuesday to continue, has halted crude oil deliveries into the complex and products flows out of it, forcing output cuts at several refineries.

French major Total (TOTF.PA) said on Tuesday the strike had forced it to cut output at its 155,000-bpd La Mede refinery in southern France by one-third.

It said strike-related cutbacks would also continue at its 119,000-bpd Feyzin plant, an inland refinery in southern France also fed by crude from Fos-Lavera.

The Miro official said two of the Karlsruhe refinery’s topping, or crude distillation, units had been shut from early March, along with several converting units including a reformer and a catalytic cracker, both gasoline-making units.

“One of the topping units has been back in operation for more than week and the other one is scheduled to be operational tomorrow,” the official said.

“The reformer has been back up for three or four days now and the FCC will be back in operation tomorrow or on Thursday.”

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