Greek refiner and bunker seller HELPE 'well-positioned' for IMO 2020

Production of fuel oil at 10 percent in Q3.

Image credit: Braden Collum / Unsplash

Updated on 14 Nov 2018 05:20 GMT

Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE) believes it is "well-positioned" for the upcoming global cap on fuel sulphur content in January 2020.

In an analysis of the company's refining performance during the third quarter of 2018, Andreas Shiamishis, Deputy CEO and CFO, noted that fuel oil production was only at 10 percent over the three-month period.

HELPE operates three refineries in Greece: in Aspropyrgos, Elefsina and Thessaloniki. The 148,000-barrel-per day (bbl/d) Aspropyrgos plant is HELPE's largest, whilst Elefsina and Thessaloniki produce 100,000 bbl/d and 93,000 bbl/d respectively. Together, they cover approximately 65 percent of Greece's total refining capacity.

Shiamishis explained that fuel oil production is now mainly being carried out at Aspropyrgos, whilst Elefsina does not produce any fuel oil and Thessaloniki is processing feedstock mainly for the other refineries.

"So it puts us in a very good situation for the next two to three years - given the IMO [0.5 percent sulphur cap regulation], which is something that a lot of other refineries in the region will have to deal with. We will have to deal with as well, but clearly, at 10 percent of production, yields [are] around 10 to 12 percent, max. I think we are in a very good spot with respect to the IMO upcoming regulations," Shiamishis remarked.

"We believe that we are well-positioned. All of the investments that have taken place over the last few years - and specifically the Elefsina upgrade - have put this company, this group, in a unique, strong position, which with the IMO coming up in ... a year and three months, we will be able to enjoy a decent refining margin," the Deputy CEO added.

In its financial results for the third quarter, HELPE recorded a 28 percent rise in net income to EUR 135m, year-on-year (YoY), whilst EBIT climbed 12 percent to EUR 258m. Sales during the period jumped 47 percent to EUR 2.67bn, and refining sales volume grew 8 percent to 4.09m tonnes.

Domestic sales of distillates for the bunker market declined YoY by 6 percent to 191,000 tonnes, and fuel oil bunker sales were virtually steady at 608,000 tonnes, dipping just 1,000 tonnes.