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Russia's Novak says NORSI refinery repairs to take at least a month

(Reuters) - Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Saturday that repair work on Lukoil's NORSI oil refinery will take at least a month or a month and a half, TASS news agency reported, in another setback for Russia's oil refining industry.

Lukoil said earlier this month that it had halted a unit at Russia's fourth largest refinery, located near the city of Nizhny Novgorod, some 430 km (270 miles) east of Moscow, after an "incident", without elaborating.

The outage sparked concerns about potential gasoline shortages across the country and there have been media reports suggesting that the government was considering imposing an export ban on the fuel, as it did last autumn.

"The company is assessing technical solutions for restoration, assessing the possibility of quickly restoring equipment; this will determine how long it will take. That's at least around 1-1.5 months," Novak was quoted as saying by TASS.

Industry sources have said one of two catalytic crackers remains out of action at the plant, suggesting that repair work could last until the end of March.

They have said there were two incidents affecting the plant's gasoline-producing units in early January. The plant can usually process about 17 million metric tons of oil per year (340,000 barrels per day).

Russian oil and oil refining industry has suffered several incidents this month, including fires, leading to a reduction in refining and export capacity and adding to uncertainty on the global oil market, already rocked by the attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.

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