The brief offers a “nuts and bolts” overview of the downstream infrastructure, i.e. main refineries in Romania, type of refined products, export vs domestic market split, main export markets as well as size of distribution channels (i.e.: number of filling stations). The main players in the downstream sector are OMV Petrom (the main player on the Romanian fuels market with a 32% market share also in the region), Rompetrol (8% market share in Romania) and Lukoil.
In refining, Romania’s key refineries are:
- Petromidia (5 Mt/year refining capacity)
- Petrobrazi (4.5 Mt/y)
- Petrotel – Lukoil (2.7 Mt/y).
OMV Petrom operates the Petrobrazi refinery, Rompetrol operates the Petromidia refinery (in Constanta) and Vega refinery (in Ploiesti), as well as a petrochemical plant (in Navodari, Constanta), while Lukoil operates Petrotel-Lukoil, a refinery it acquired in 1998.
Petrobrazi refinery has a refining capacity of 4.5 million tons per year and achieved a utilization rate of 97% in 2019 (up from 85% in 2018). Petrobrazi can process OMV Petrom’s entire Romanian equity crude oil. The refinery also has a hydrogen plant on its premises.
Its latest upgrade was the Polyfuel plant, with an investment worth 65 million EUR. The plant allows 90,000 tons of high-octane gasoline and diesel to be obtained through reconversion of LPG and low-grade light gasoline. The unit is “the third of its kind worldwide and the first to convert low-grade light gasoline as well, not just LPG” according to the company annual report for 2019.
OMV Petrom has a network of 793 filling stations in the Black Sea region, most of which (556 stations) are located in Romania. It has 94 filling stations in Bulgaria and 81 in Moldova.
Table 1: Number of filling stations per country (end of 2019)
Source: OMV Petrom
In terms of sales, OMV sold 5.5 million tons of refined products in 2019, of which 2.8 million tons were retail sales. Retail sales in Romania were 2.4 million tons in 2019. The company boasts to have achieved a record throughput in Romania: 5 million liters per filling station in 2019.
Petromidia refinery is the largest in Romania and one of the most modern in the Black Sea region with a Nelson complexity index of 11.4. Ranked 9th among 250 refineries in Europe and Africa by Wood MacKenzie in 2018. The refinery has the highest white product output in the region (86.2%) and a utilization rate of 90% (higher than the average European utilization rate of 83%). In addition, it has the highest in the region capability to extract sulphur from oil, obtaining exclusively Euro 5 fuels. KazMunayGaz (KMG) has invested 1.6 billion USD since it took over the company, of which 1 billion USD was invested in Petromidia. The largest project was the upgrade and increase of its capacity from 3.5 Mt/year to 5 Mt/year, a project worth 450 million USD.
As shown in Fig. 13, the total feedstock processed in 2019 was 6.33 million tons while gasoline production was 1.37 million tons, jet group production was 406 ktons, diesel production 2.93 million tons (highest ever).
Fig. 1: Petromidia refinery: feedstock structure in 2019 (in 000 tons/day, and % it represents)
The yield for diesel was 48.5% and for fuels (gas, diesel, Jet, automotive LPG fuel) is 75.4%. The finished products are sold in the domestic market as well as in the international market. The main export markets, by petroleum product, are:
- gasoline: Greece, Georgia, Lebanon, Bulgaria, Moldova, Turkey;
- diesel: Greece, Bulgaria, Moldova, Turkey, Georgia;
- jet fuel: Moldova, Georgia, Bulgaria, Albania;
- petcoke: Turkey, Moldova, Ukraine, Serbia, Hungary;
- sulphur: Egypt, Ukraine.
Table 2: Petromidia refinery: structure of deliveries in 2019
Most of the gasoline produced at Petromidia is exported (1 million tons or 74%) and only 357,000 tons (26%) is supplied to the domestic market. In contrast, most of the diesel fuel (1.9 million tons, or 65%) and most of the LPG (178, 678 tons or 68%) is sold on the domestic market. Overall 52% of the finished products are sold on the domestic market, and 40% are exported. Motor fuels (gasoline, diesel, LPG) account for 80% of total finished products sales.
Vega refinery is the oldest processing unit in Romania (115 years). It is the only domestic producer of bitumen and hexane. Its total feedstock in 2019 was 436 kt while hexane production was 92 kt and bitumen production was 120 kt. Vega works in perfect synergy with the Petromidia refinery.
Table 3: Vega refinery: structure of petroleum product deliveries in 2019
Vega focuses on the production of solvents (SE 30/60, n-Hexane, white spirit), naphta, heating fuels, normal road bitumen and modified bitumen (Fig. 14). Two thirds of the naphta gasoline produced at Vega is exported. The entire bitumen production (119,219 tons or 99%) and 100% of the heating fuels (9,247 tons) is used in the domestic market, as is 99% of the heavy fuel oil. On the other hand, ecological solvents go mainly to export (98%).
The main export markets for petroleum products produced at Vega are:
- naphta: Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Spain;
- hexane: India, Turkey, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Russia;
- ecological solvents: Germany, Cyprus, Spain, Ukraine, Hungary, Moldova;
- white spirit: Bulgaria, Moldova;
- fuel oil: Bulgaria;
- bitumen: Bulgaria.
Figure 2: Structure of Vega sales, by product (in %)
Navodari petrochemical plant is the only producer of polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (LDPE, HDPE) in Romania.
Table 4: Navodari petrochemical plant: structure of polymers deliveries in 2019
Source: Rompetrol | Note: PP = polypropylene; LDPE = low density polyethylene; HDPE = high density polyethylene.
In addition to its own products, the petrochemical plant also sells products of high demand in the domestic market (which are not produced there) such as HDPE variants, LLDPE, PVC, or PET. The main markets for polymers (PP, LDPE, HDPE, PET, PVC) are Romania (50%), Bulgaria (18%, Serbia (8%) and Italy (7%), as shown in Fig. 3.
Figure 3: Polymer sales by destination (2019)
Domestic fuel sales: Rompetrol Downstream distribution segment has 964 points of sale (December 2019) which include its own network of stations plus partner stations and mobile stations. Rompetrol Downstream sold 2.11 million tons of fuel on the Romanian market in 2019, an increase compared to 2018, largely due to a boost in diesel sales. Diesel has the highest share (84%) of the total motor fuels sold by Rompetrol nationwide.
In Europe, the company fully owns 3 refineries (in Romania, Bulgaria and Italy) and holds a 45% share of a refinery in Netherlands as shown in Table 5.
Table 5: Lukoil-owned refineries in Europe in 2019
Source: compiled by author
Petrotel-Lukoil is the oldest (built in 1904) of the 4 refineries Lukoil owns in Europe, which is why it was also the first to be modernized. Until 2013-2014, Lukoil’s Romanian refinery was the most advanced one in its portfolio of refineries outside Russia (and the only one with a Nelson index of 10 at the time). Following subsequent upgrade and modernization programs in other refineries, this is no longer the case, as the Burgas refinery (Bulgaria) and Isab refinery (Italy) now have a higher Nelson index than Petrotel (in Romania). In terms of refining capacity, Petrotel-Lukoil has the lowest refining capacity (only 2.7 million tons) compared to Burgas (7 million tons) or Isab (14 million tons). Petrotel processes Urals oil and oil produced at Romanian fields. Its refining throughput was 2.485 million tons in 2019.
Table 6: Key figures for Petrotel Lukoil refinery in Romania
The refinery is located in Ploiesti, some 55 km away from Bucharest. Crude is delivered to the refinery by railway and via a pipeline from Constanta. Finished products are shipped by railroad and motor trucks.
This Issue Brief is an excerpt from “South East Europe Energy Outlook 2021/2022” – a major regional study published by the Institute of Energy for South East Europe (IENE), based in Athens, Greece. To find more about the project or order your copy of the Outlook, go here: https://www.iene.eu/en/congress/47/iene-study-see-energy-outlook-2021-2022
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