Lotos has signed a PLN 2.2 bln contract with Technip for technical design, supplies and the construction of two installations of the PKRT project, the company announced yesterday. The agreement is part of the EUR 1.47bn (US$ 1.97bn) refinery upgrade program, Lotos president Mr Olechnowicz said in a conference call with analysts. CFO Mr Machajewski added that and with this contract 70% of the total project value is already covered, which allows Lotos to look for financing on the banking market. The company plans to close financing of the project in 4Q07 and aims to raise US$ 1.5m loan from commercial banks. The CFO added that the financing period was set at 12.5 years and that the loans will be denominated in US dollars to decrease the currency risk.
The company also gave a detailed schedule for the implementation of the PKRT program. According to this, Gdansk refinery would be shut down for maintenance in early 2009 followed by the launch of the new hydrogen (HGU), hydrodesulphurization (HDS), crude distillation (CDU) and vacuum distillation (VDU) units. The company is still undecided on the way of heavy residuum processing (to invest into a more expensive ROSE extraction technology or go for a simple visbreaker unit. Whatever the decision would be, this unit will only go on stream in 1H 2010. The planned mild hydrocracker (MHC) is to be launched in 2H 2010.
Our view: We see slight delay in the implementation of the project, as Lotos previously planned the MHC unit for 1H 2010 and the new target is 2H 2010. Total investment cost is also seen to increase: in its strategic plan June last year Lotos indicated that it aims to spend PLN 6bn (US$ 1.93bn) to upgrade the Gdansk refinery in the 2006-2012 period while now it aims US$ 1.97bn until 2010. The fact that the original figure also included the IGCC unit (which was recently delayed for 2012) shows us that investment costs have actually increased by some US$ 150-300m, the price of the IGCC unit. This is pretty in line with our expectation that high inflation in the oil construction sector will not leave Lotos unaffected, but market might not yet priced in this development. On the other hand, however, Lotos significantly improved transparency of the PKRT project through giving exact guidance on its milestones. This can be considered as a positive factor, mainly compensating for the overflow in the investment budget.