ELPE’s supply deals include Iraq’s Somo, shareholders told

Besides its well-publicized oil deals with Iran, Russia, and Egypt – the latter has yet to be implemented – ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) has also reached an agreement with Iraqi firm Somo, one of the world’s biggest petroleum producers, ELPE managing director Grigoris Stergioulis disclosed yesterday during a company shareholders meeting.

ELPE is benefiting from improved profit margins as a result of new and renegotiated supply deals in recent times, as well as its utilization of a bolstered cashflow, used to provide order deposits for better deals.

ELPE officials are scheduled to soon travel to Russia to finalize numerical terms of an agreement reached with Rosneft. A memorandum of understanding was signed between the two sides during last week’s visit to Greece by Russian president Vladimir Putin along with a delegation of officials.

ELPE sources noted that Rosneft officials are tough negotiators but, even so, it is believed a beneficial agreement can be signed.

The Greek refinery will be supplied crude by the Russian petroleum company, which will be refined here and shipped back to the Russian firm as partial or full payment for the crude supplied.

ELPE, in the first quarter of 2016, increased its level of direct purchases from suppliers and reduced orders from traders, as part of the company’s new strategy, which includes cost-cutting objectives. Roughly 30 percent of ELPE’s crude supply was bought directly from producers. The company is aiming for an even split of purchases from producers and traders as a means of further improving its profit margin and financial performance, according to ELPE sources.

It is estimated that every one-dollar improvement by ELPE in its profit margin represents a financial gain of around 100 million euros.

The company’s profit margin is not entirely shaped by the ELPE group’s actions. The prevailing market conditions also play a key role. For the time being, the oil market is a buyer’s market, not a seller’s market, as has been the case in the past.

Stergioulis, during the shareholders meeting, was upbeat about ELPE’s earnings prospects for 2016. He noted that the corporate group benefited from improved energy efficiency in 2015 worth 30 million euros.