Diesel, upgraded refinery boosting ELPE’s Med presence

The local fuel market is showing signs of stabilization as well as a significant market share increase of diesel among transportation fuels, Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) officials noted during a presentation of the company’s upgraded refinery in Elefsina, west of Athens.

Both the company’s General Manager of Industrial Facilities, Dionysis Routsis, and Investor Relations Manager, Vassilis Tsaitas, noted that the upgrade of the company’s Elefsina refinery, formerly operated by Petrola, allowed for increased exports, which, to a great extent, have replaced domestic sales that declined in recent years as a result of the Greek recession.

Mazut production, a loss-incurring operation, has been terminated and replaced by production of aviation fuel and, primarily, diesel, which was short in supply both in Greece and most other Mediterranean countries.

The petroleum group, officials said, more than doubled its exports from 2,378,000 metric tons in 2011 to 5,519,000 metric tons in 2013, with 52 percent of these represented by diesel.

ELPE officials made note of the company investments for environmental protection, valued at 300 million euros of 1.4 billion euros invested in total, which, they said, reduced emissions by 84 percent.

Responding to a question on fuel tax imposed in Greece, ELPE officials remarked that levels were elevated, while noting that effective confrontation of illicit fuel trade will serve to increase government revenues and allow for reduced tax rates.

As for the lower international oil prices, ELPE officials noted that they were having a mixed impact on the company, as, on the one hand, the lower prices were reducing capital mobilization requirements, and, on the other, decreasing the value of the petroleum group’s stock.

The officials underlined that they expect the benefits of the group’s reduced financial servicing cost, following a bond issue worth 700 million euros and debt restructuring, to have an impact on second-half results.