Rodica Brăiescu: The refining industry has gone through a process of continuous reinvention
Rodica Brăiescu, operational manager within the Trading Rompetrol Refinery sector, spoke during an interview given to the ZIUA de Constanţa daily newspaper about the activity that she is engaged in, about the complex nature of the oil refining process, and also about the future of the refining industry.
I: When did you start to work in this field and what determined you to make this choice?
RB: I chose the profession of engineer-technologist, as I was captivated by the complexity of the oil refining process, by the diversity and flows in a refinery. After I had worked 9 years in the production field, I chose a challenge: to approach the refining process until the final distribution point of oil products; to contribute to the organization of the trade flows on the sales channels, to explore the trade and customs legislation and to have great satisfaction. And that satisfaction is that crude oil processed and transformed in so many kinds of oil products, distributed in the regional markets and even in the further markets, represents a major contribution to the national and global economy.
I: After a period of 35 years of activity in this field, how do you see the manner in which the refining industry has improved?
RB: The refining industry has been improved and has gone through a process of reinvention and continuous concentration. It is a volatile industry, sensitive to the economic, geopolitical, social factors, of international conjuncture. However, it is essential for the functioning of the economy, with a high contribution to the needs of the society.
I: In which markets are the products of those two Petromidia and Vega refineries sold? How do you try to keep pace with the market? Are there any outlets to be used?
RB: More than 50% of the volume of the oil products sales shall be distributed in the Romanian market, for the purpose of assuring the national consumption. In the external markets, sales are intended also for the Community area (approximately 35%), and the extra-Community area. The most important countries of destination in the regional markets are: Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Moldova, Georgia, Germany, Hungary and Serbia. Rompetrol products reach even countries in the farthest markets, such as Russia (n-hexane), Lebanon (petrol), India (n-hexane), Egypt (sulphur).
I: Which is the advantage of the products obtained from the Petromidia and Vega refineries, considering that new competitors appear worldwide, due to the erection of new refineries?
RB: Petromidia is an upgraded refinery, which has benefited from important investments in line with the latest requirements imposed by the European and global legislation in the matter of product quality and environmental protection. The product quality corresponds to the most demanding European rules and this fact resulted in a continuous increase of the “motor” fuel demand, but also niche products, both in the national market and in the regional markets. The Vega refinery is a manufacturer and supplier of special products and solutions, such as environmentally friendly solvents, special purpose bitumen, heating fuels.
Moreover, Vega is the sole manufacturer of “n-hexane” in the Central and Eastern Europe, being used for the polymerization of the linear olefins and for the vegetable oils refining, and in the food industry, it is used as a sealing agent. Moreover, it is the sole bitumen manufacturer in the country. The raw material is fully supplied by Petromidia. The advantage of the Petromidia and Vega products is related to the compliance with all quality rules and standards applicable in EU and in Romania, to the technical capacity of these products to observe the rules and the requirements, both in the summer and in the wintertime. The flexibility of the refineries to produce multiple types of petrol, diesel, LPG, polymers, solvents and other niche products shall not be neglected.
I: Are young people still interested in becoming oil workers nowadays? After all, which are the qualities of an oil worker?
RB: Certainly, yes! Young people (especially engineers, but not limited to them) are still interested in becoming oil workers as this is a profession offering good stability and sufficient motivation/professional and material satisfaction. I think that an oil worker must have the following qualities: dynamic, with aptitude for details, analytical, innovative, open to new things and team player.
I: How do you see the future of the refining industry?
RB: In one word, promising. The future of the refining industry is still stable for at least 25-30 years (with a continuous trend to automation and digitalization), as the global consumption of hydrocarbon is still high and slightly increases every year. Alternative resources and fuels are still at the beginning and can only cover a small part of the consumption. It was invested and it is still invested in the refining industry, both to increase the product quality and for the environmental protection.
I: A message for Petromidia, when reaching an experience of 40 years?
RB: The professional excellence and the spirit of change for a continuous development assure a sustainable success!
Source of the interview: Ziua de Constanţa