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Ukrainian oil refineries to inevitably adapt to power shortages by installing generators – Prometheus group

KYIV. Feb 17 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Adaptation of the Ukrainian vegetable oil extraction industry to new realities with a shortage of electricity and rolling power outages is inevitable, since it is more profitable for enterprises to provide themselves with autonomous power generation than to incur losses due to downtime of expensive equipment, Volodymyr Bondaruk, a trader in oilseeds of the Prometheus group of companies, has said.

“Of course, the industry was affected by Russian missile attacks and the introduced power outage schedules: for example, one plant in Ternopil region reported a 15% decrease in gross processing due to problems with the electricity supply. But one way or another, adaptation to new realities is inevitable, because here pure mathematics works when the cost of a generator is incomparably less than the losses from plant downtime,” he said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.

Bondaruk said that many oil extraction plants have already provided themselves with autonomous power generation, thanks to which they can work with sufficient load. Indirectly, their full-fledged work is evidenced by the fact that Prometheus’ competitors continue actively purchasing sunflower seeds for processing, due to which prices for it in the domestic market continue growing.

“We have seen a steady increase in prices for raw materials since the beginning of the season, and even planned/emergency power outages did not prevent this. Thus, there is reason to believe that the marginality of processing still allows farmers to be interested in selling raw materials at an attractive price, even in the face of partial loss of productivity by industry enterprises,” Bondaruk said.

The expert also said that it is advisable to supply oil extraction enterprises with generators, since they cannot fully operate under conditions of stabilizing power outages, but need an uninterrupted supply of electricity throughout the working day.

“I am in contact with a large agricultural holding with three oil refineries, which in total process up to 4,000 tonnes of sunflower per day, which is one of the best indicators in the country. So, they are now completely autonomous and fully loaded, because early January they installed generators and actually compensate for the shortage of electricity in the grids without loss of productivity. But, for example, a large oil extraction plant in Vinnytsia region operates at 60% of its pre-war capacity at best due to a lack of power,” the trader said in the interview.

Bondaruk called the transition of oil refineries to the mode of finalizing sunflower to export standards and selling abroad another alternative to buying generators. It includes operations of additional cleaning, final drying and separation from ragweed, the impurities of which in sunflower seeds are unacceptable according to European standards.

“A fairly large oil extraction plant in Mykolaiv region, which can process 500-700 tonnes of sunflower per day and had significant power outages, rebuilt its facilities to refine raw materials and then export sunflower seeds ready for oil extraction. That is, they realized that they will not be able to provide uninterrupted crushing at the site, and decided to buy sunflower and bring it to export standards,” the trader said.

At the same time, according to him, the Prometey group of companies did not stop purchasing raw materials for a day, despite problems with power supply.