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Belneftekhim increased production by 7.2% last year from 2007, slightly exceeding forecast production growth of 7% for the year, the State Statistics Ministry told Interfax on January 22.

Belneftekhim enterprises reported a 7.8% production increase year-on- year in December. December production was up 12.8% on November.

Production by petrochemical and chemical enterprises totaled 15.3 trillion Belarussian rubles (Br) for 2008, up 6.7% from 2006 and accounting for 12% of Belarusian industrial output.

Mineral fertilizer production totaled 5.87 million tonnes, down 0.2% from 2007, including 4.97 million tonnes of potash fertilizer, down 0.1%, 727,500 tonnes of nitrogen fertilizer, down 3.1%, and 175,000 tonnes of phosphate fertilizer, up 11.3%.

Output reached 402,200 tonnes for synthetic resins and plastic, up 0.1%, 82.3 million square meters for cord fabric, up 5.9%. Tire production rose to 521,900 units for agricultural machinery, up 12%, to 3,484,200 units for cars, up 2.3%, and to 1,061,800 for trucks, up 15.4%. Paint and varnish production declined 8.1% to 114,800 tonnes. Chemical fiber and thread production declined 1.3% to 225,700 tonnes.

In December, production of almost all petrochemical products declined.

Mineral fertilizer output was down 10.3%, synthetic resin and plastic - down 7.6%, cord fabric - down 66.5%, chemical fiber and thread - down 19.8%, tires - down 30%-35% on average. However, output of paint and varnish increased 1,080%.

Primary oil refining declined 0.2% to 21.305 million tonnes in 2008.

Refineries processed 1.886 million tonnes of crude oil, down 0.7%. In value terms, oil refining increased 15.5% to 26 trillion Br, including a 30.2% increase to 1.2 trillion Br in December.

Production of gasoline totaled 3.33 million tonnes, down 4.8% (including a 3% decline to 307,400 tonnes in December), lubricants totaled 153,820 tonnes, up 2.7% (up 19.9% to 12,300 tonnes in December), bunker fuel equaled 1.805 million tonnes, up 160%. Diesel production totaled 6.590 million tonnes, down 1.3% (up 3% to 568,800 tonnes in December), heating oil production totaled 5.899 million tonnes, down 4.6% (up 10.6% to 596,600 tonnes in December).

Refineries in Belarus received 21.132 million tonnes of crude oil from Russia, 5.4% more than in 2007, although somewhat less than the 21.5 million tonnes contained in the energy balance agreed by the two countries.

Crude oil production declined 1.1% to 1.740, including 145,720 tonnes in December, down 1.1%.

Belneftekhim enterprises invested 3.567 trillion Br in fixed capital last year, 2.7% above target and 24% more than in 2007.

Belneftekhim enterprises increased exports by 63.4% in the first 11 months of the year, and imports were up 55.9%. Net profit in the 11 months was 4.844 trillion Br, 190% more year-on-year. Payables rose to 2.5 trillion Br on December 1, 2008, 8.6% higher than on January 1, 2008.

State-run Belneftekhim unites 50 companies in the oil and chemicals industry and employs about 120,000 people. The company exports output to over 80 countries worldwide. Belneftekhim accounts for about 35% of total Belarusian industrial production and more than 50% of exports.

The exchange rate on January 22 was 2,675 Br/$1.

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