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Update on OMV Schwechat Refinery: Significant progress made on alternative supply system

  • During the legally required water pressure test, damage occurred to the outer shell of one of the columns of the crude oil distillation unit
  • Repair work began immediately after the incident and includes dismantling, ordering materials, and prefabrication 
  • Significant progress made on alternative supply system – refinery expected to be fully operational and fully utilized again in the second half of Q3/2022  
  • Measures taken allow refinery to operate at around 20% of capacity 

During the legally required water pressure test as part of the final stages of the turnaround of the OMV Schwechat Refinery, damage occurred to the outer shell of one of the columns of the crude oil distillation unit on June 3, 2022. In order to identify the causes of the damage, a large interdisciplinary team is working with the support of experts from the OMV Group and independent experts. As the damage occurred in the lower section of the distillation column, the damage site is difficult to access – OMV’s priority is the safety of the team. The findings so far indicate that it should be possible for the refinery to restart fully operational and fully utilized in the second half of Q3/2022. The creation of a robust alternative supply system provides products and mitigate the impact on customers.

The task force set up immediately after the incident is working with undiminished intensity to minimize and rectify the damage. The essential tasks are being carried out by several working groups under the leadership of the task force: Ensuring the occupational safety of OMV’s own employees and those of partner companies, timely repairs, maximum availability and optimal utilization of the facilities still running, as well as supplying products to customers.

For the duration of the repairs, OMV has established an alternative supply system to supply the markets served by the OMV Schwechat Refinery. This system is based on three pillars: Using the capacities of the refinery network within the group; short-term adjustments to increase existing production capacities in the refinery; as well as close cooperation with partners to make up for the missing volumes.

“Dismantling works, preparatory works, ordering materials, and prefabrication for repairs began immediately after the incident. The distillation capacity of a smaller crude distillation unit available has been maximized and now covers about 20% of the previous capacity. Thanks to the support and flexibility of our customers, alternative supplies have been secured – logistical challenges do have to be overcome. We have a clear plan, we are making good progress and will work with the new supply system for as long as it takes”, said Michael Sattler, Senior Vice President Value Chain Optimization and Head of the Task Force.
In addition, the release of fuel reserves was a sensible measure to safeguard supply until the new supply system is fully up and running.

Please find here in the OMV Media Database 2 video statements (credit: OMV; editorial use free of charge) of Michael Sattler, Head of the OMV Task Force:

Statement of Michael Sattler – Update on OMV Schwechat Refinery: Significant progress made on alternative supply system
Statement of Michael Sattler – Update on OMV Schwechat Refinery: Status of cause finding and timeline for restart

Background on crude oil distillation unit:
The unit separates most of the crude oil into its components (gasoline, kerosene, middle distillate (diesel) and residue components) and makes these components available for further processing in the refinery’s downstream process units (e.g. desulphurization units).

More information on crude oil distillation at the refinery:

Background information

OMV Aktiengesellschaft

With Group sales revenues of EUR 36 bn and a workforce of around 22,400 employees in 2021, OMV is amongst Austria’s largest listed industrial companies.

In Chemicals & Materials, OMV through its subsidiary Borealis, is one of the world’s leading providers of advanced and circular polyolefin solutions and a European market leader in base chemicals, fertilizers, and plastics recycling. Together with its two major joint ventures – Borouge (with ADNOC, in the UAE and Singapore) and Baystar™ (with TotalEnergies, in the USA) – Borealis supplies products and services to customers across the globe. OMV’s Refining & Marketing business produces and markets fuels as well as feedstock for the chemical industry, operates three refineries in Europe, and holds a 15% stake in a refining joint venture in the UAE. OMV operates around 2,100 filling stations in ten European countries. In addition, the activities include Gas & Power Eastern Europe where it also operates a gas-fired power plant in Romania. In Exploration & Production, OMV explores and produces oil and gas in the four core regions of Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, North Sea, and Asia-Pacific. Average daily production in 2021 included production from a joint venture in Russia and amounted to 486,000 boe/d with a focus on natural gas (~60%). As of March 1, 2022, Russian entities are no longer consolidated. Its activities include Gas Marketing Western Europe, where it also operates gas storage facilities in Austria and Germany. 

OMV intends to transition from an integrated oil, gas, and chemicals company to become a leading provider of innovative and sustainable fuels, chemicals, and materials, while taking a leading global role in the circular economy. By switching over to a low-carbon business, OMV is striving to achieve net zero in all three Scopes by 2050 at the latest.