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Oil and gas in Europe: Part 1

Hydrocarbon Engineering,


Belgium, according to BMI, is going to remain dependent on imports, as there is limited potential for the country to attract major investment in the near term. Natural gas production and reserves in the country are expected to remain at 0 but coal bed methane could be a possibility for Belgium in the future. Slow oil consumption growth is being registered in the country and demand is only expected to be at 661 600 bpd by 2017 and 718 500 bpd by 2023.

Looking at the downstream sector, work is currently being carried out at Total’s Antwerp refinery. The work started in 2012 and the US$ 1.29 billion investment will boost diesel production at the plant, hopefully increasing refining and petrochemicals earnings by US$ 500 million. The upgrade is also going to help the plant meet new European regulations regarding emissions and sulfur content.


The business sector across Bulgaria is not encouraging for the oil and gas sector, as according to BMI, it is still plagued by corruption and inefficiency. Specifically in the oil sector, there is limited new activity and a continued decline in domestic production, but things could change as there is a US$ 1.5 billion investment currently being made to upgrade the Neftochim refinery and the natural gas sector as a whole is looking upbeat as new projects are coming online.

At one point, things did not look good for the refining sector in Bulgaria as an operating licence was revoked from Lukoil, operators of the Neftochim Burgas refinery, after they failed to install metering equipment by a set deadline which was to help combat smuggling and tax evasion. Now however, as mentioned above, US$ 1.5 billion is being invested in the facility and Technip is constructing a new vacuum distillation unit which is expected to have a 50 000 bpd capacity for the plant. BMI expects this to be operational by 2017.


BMI anticipates continued decline in oil and gas production in Croatia, meaning a higher import bill for the country as demand is expected to outpace domestic supply. BMI has also said that the future of Croatia’s downstream sector is uncertain as it has been reported that both of the nation’s refineries are going to be closed by 2018, or earlier due to their weakness in the competitive global refining market.

When it comes to production of oil and gas, BMI expect crude and liquids production to drop from 19 450 bpd to 17 170 bpd by 2023. For gas, output is going to drop and import levels are expected to rise from 1.28 billion m3 in 2013 to 3.56 billion m3 in 2023. To help with imports of natural gas, the country is planning on building an LNG terminal in the Adriatic. The facility is being planned by a consortium of companies and a final decision on the project is expected by the end of this year with completion of the project in 2018. The terminal will most likely have a regas capacity of 15 billion m3/y maximum.

When it comes to the downstream sector, as mentioned above, it is possible that both of the country’s refineries could be closed. The decision is not that of Croatia’s alone as the Hungarian company MOL owns 49.08% of INA in partnership with the Croatian government and MOL has voiced interest in shutting the Sisak and Rijeka facilities by 2018. Discussions on these closures are reportedly ongoing.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is expected to remain dependent on imports of oil and gas at high levels, particularly from Russia as the production potential of conventional hydrocarbons in the country is very limited, according to BMI.

The country is a minor consumer of refined fuels and has a refining capacity of 173 000 bpd across two refineries. They are both entirely owned by Unipetrol.

Edited from report briefs by Claira Lloyd

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