PKN Czech refinery to be shut for 10 days due to cracking problems

By SEAN CARNEY

PRAGUE -- Unipetrol AS, the Czech unit of PKN Orlen SA, said it will take $3 million hit to its full year pretax earnings due to an unplanned shutdown at one of its refineries.

The company decided late Wednesday to halt all operations at its Kralupy refinery for 10 days due to problems with the cracking unit.

"The unplanned shutdown results from a lack of storage capacity for the Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) unit feedstock. The excess feedstock for the FCC unit is a consequence of difficulties with the FCC unit operations occurring since mid May," Unipetrol said in a statement.

The refinery is operated by subsidiary Ceska Rafinerska AS, in which Unipetrol holds a 51% stake, while Italy's ENI holds a 32.5% stake and Shell owns the remaining 16% share.

In recent weeks there has been speculation in Czech media that Shell would like to sell its stake in the company, but all the companies have refused to comment.

Dow Jones Newswires

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