The strategy of developing the oil processing industry in Belarus was discussed at the session in Novopolotsk on 7 June, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with workers of OAO Naftan, BelTA has learned.
“The main thing that we discussed is the completion of the modernization of two refineries and future prospects,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
In his words, the oil refinery in Mozyr will specialize in fuel production. “We will work on oil refining depth, produce light oils. But market is a priority. We can make as much light oils as we want. The main thing is to sell them and meet the consumers' demand,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “Besides, we compete with Russia on markets as we buy Russian oil, and we have common markets. It not easy. They have more space for maneuver. They can provide cheaper oil to their refineries and get more profits. They can reduce prices, and we cannot do it.”
“We need to think about further modernization in these conditions,” the Belarusian leader said. The Novopolotsk-based enterprise Naftan will specialize in the further development of petrochemical production for the needs of other industrial facilities.
“When we finish the upgrade of these enterprises this year or at the beginning of 2020, we will decide what to improve and modernize in the future,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The head of state remarked that additional modernization of the petrochemical industry will be required in the future. However, the amount of financing will be much smaller in comparison with the investments which were made in the past couple of years. “We will have to invest in oil refineries to produce in-demand products. Then it will be easier for Naftan,” he said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko added that he also plans to visit Mozyr oil refinery. “We will look at the market of oil and oil products at the end of the year. Then we will determine a further strategy for our refineries,” the head of state said.
Addressing Naftan workers, the president stressed that the state will continue supporting the enterprise. At the same time, he warned: “Of course, we will put pressure on you and make you work well. And we will also help you. If you do your best, we will always support you. This is my position, I have been saying this for decades, and you should know it.”
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, it is good that Belarus decided to modernize oil refineries before Russia's tax maneuver in the oil industry and other factors having an impact on the development of the industry.
The president also focused on product sales. “We can make high-quality products. Enterprises in Mozyr and Novopolotsk are doing a great job. You produce good fuel and it sells well. But we need to improve sales. So, we discussed our future efforts to improve sales,” the president said. “We need a strong company. Perhaps, we should also modernize the Belarusian Oil Company.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out the need to preserve and develop the social infrastructure of Naftan. “People are the priority for us,” he stressed. “We need to encourage people to stay here. And it depends not only on salaries today.”