An oil pipeline stretching 213 kilometers from Greek petroleum group ELPE’s Thessaloniki facilities in the country’s north to its Okta company refinery across the northern border in Fyrom (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) is expected to reopen around March after the firm ceased using this channel in 2013, ruling it, at the time, as inefficient and unprofitable.
The ensuing road transportation of fuels has sharply increased costs and smuggling activity.
ELPE and Fyrom’s administration are ready for the oil pipeline’s reopening, sources have informed. However, constitutional changes concerning a bilateral agreement for Fyrom’s name change to the Republic of North Macedonia, requiring several rounds of voting in parliament, still need to be completed before oil quantities can be transported through this pipeline.
The ELPE group is currently using its Okta company refinery as a storage facility. Balkan regional growth experienced in recent years has rekindled the Greek petroleum firm’s interest in the Okta unit as a transit center for distribution of petroleum products in Fyrom and other countries in the region.
ELPE maintains a market presence in Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Fyrom, operating over 200 petrol stations.
The Thessaloniki-Fyrom oil pipeline’s reopening is expected to significantly reduce fuel transportation costs to these markets.