Croatian oil and gas company INA [ZSE:INA-R-A] said on Tuesday it has requested the economy ministry to award a strategic investment status to its 250 million euro ($282 million) project for the development of a bio-ethanol plant.
Under the EU-backed project, INA plans to develop a second generation (2G) ethanol plant at its current location in the city of Sisak, the company said in a statement.
The project is included in INA's Downstream 2023 New Course programme that targets the concentration of the company's crude oil refining activities at its refinery in the city of Rijeka and the conversion of the Sisak refinery into an industrial site to serve as a base for bitumen production, a logistic hub and home to a bio-component refinery, subject to further investment decisions.
"The location in Sisak is an important part of INA's business, and all activities that we have been carrying out are preconditions that have to be met in order to adopt a final investment decision. Therefore, it is important to underline that the support of the EU and the Croatian government is a key prerequisite for the final implementation of this project which is important for the Republic of Croatia and for INA," the head of INA, Sandor Fasimon, said in the statement, adding the project fits into EU Green Deal guidelines.
INA also recalled that in February it has signed a licence agreement with French company Axens for the supply of its Futurol cellulosic ethanol technology to INA's future advanced bio-ethanol production plant at Sisak, as well as a contract for the basic engineering design of the plant with Axens.
The Futurol technology will enable INA to produce 55,000 tonnes, equivalent to 70 million litres, of advanced ethanol in synergy with green energy production, based on lignocellulosic feedstock such as agricultural residues and energy crop miscanthus.
In January, Belguim's De Smet Engineers & Contractors (DSEC) said it has started basic engineering works on INA's 2G ethanol plant project, covering the OSBL (Outside Battery Limits) portion of the project for the plant that will feed on locally grown energy crop miscanthus and wheat straw.
In September 2019, INA said it completed testing of miscanthus as a source of bio-fuel as part of a programme focused on ensuring the sustainability and profitability of the group's refining system.
INA said on Wednesday that the investment in establishing a raw material supply chain to feed the future bio-ethanol plant, i.e. all activities related with planting miscanthus, is estimated at 50 million euro.
The company's shares last traded on the Zagreb bourse on Friday, closing flat at 2,880 kuna ($429/380 euro).
(1 euro = 7.57484 kuna)
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