Posted at 7/25/19, 12:07 PM Interviews

Yedil Utekov: Petromidia has become one of the most modern refineries in South East Europe

"We want to further develop the Petromidia platform. Even though KMG has invested massive amounts so far, we do not want to stop – Forbes, 9th of July"  
After massive investments in the last period, Petromidia has become one of the most modern refineries in South East Europe. Yedil Utekov, General Manager of Rompetrol Rafinare, tells us what are the plans for the platform that, after four decades of activity, records new operational records annually.

Petromidia gradually became the central pillar of the refining industry in Romania, being the largest refinery in the country and one of the most modern in South-Eastern Europe. Petromidia also significantly contributes to the development of Rompetrol's activities in Romania and in the Black Sea region.

KazMunayGas (KMG) from Kazakhstan bought 75% of Rompetrol Group shares in August 2007 and the remaining 25% in 2009, becoming the sole shareholder in Kazakhstan. Yedil Utekov, General Manager of Rompetrol Rafinare, recalls that the acquisition of Petromidia was one of KazMunayGas's most important steps.

"The acquisition of the Petromidia Refinery by Kazakhstan's national oil and gas company, KazMunayGas, was one of the most important steps in expanding the group's activities. From the very beginning, the objective was to develop in the area of Europe and the geographic position of Petromidia on the Black Sea shore was an important argument. The possibility of development throughout the region was an important argument, because the refinery could be considered a hub through which the branch network of the area (Republic of Moldova, Bulgaria, Georgia, etc.) was expanded. We have found a great potential in the platform here, but it needs significant investment to become even better. Undoubtedly, the 12 years that have passed since the takeover of the refinery are successfully crowned, with evidence of operating results growing year after year. To be even more precise, I think the figures speak for themselves: from 3,827,337 tons of raw materials processed in 2007, we have reached 5,924,876 in 2018. An impressive leap that shows the professional way in which the Rompetrol Rafinare story is being built ", said for Forbes Romania, the general manager of Rompetrol Rafinare.

Total investments made by KMG over 2007-2017 to support and develop the group's profile activities amount to more than 1.6 billion USD. KazMunayGas has managed to transform the Petromidia refinery into the largest Romanian unit, but also one of the most modern in the Black Sea region. At present, only 4 refineries are in operation in the country (Petromidia Năvodari and Vega Ploieşti owned by KMG, Petrobrazi Ploieşti, controlled by OMV and Petrotel Ploieşti, owned by Lukoil).

"The refinery has gone through a general upgrade and capacity development plan worth 400 million dollars, but equally important is that since 2007 KazMunayGas has invested more than 1.6 billion dollars in Petromidia. (...) We want to further develop the platform because the Black Sea region needs an important player on the market. Certainly, future investments will generate more jobs, we will develop the local economy on the "horizontal" scale. Do not think we're neglecting environmental issues. Only in the period when the major investment package was implemented, over 50 million dollars been allocated to align with EU legislation. We invest at all levels because we want to remain one of the most important companies at the national level", Yedil Utekov said.

"There are many areas where we want to grow. You have heard very clearly: even if KMG has invested massive amounts so far, we do not want to stop. The market demands it, and the name Rompetrol Rafinare obliges us. We look at the medium-term strategy and see an alkylation station at Petromidia, which will allow us to develop fuels that can withstand -35 degrees Celsius, we see a bitumen plant in Năvodari, following the Vega Ploieşti refinery model (the only such plant in the country) as we have noticed the tendency in Romania to develop road infrastructure. We see in Midia a cogeneration plant capable of providing us with energy independence, but also cheaper heat for the inhabitants of nearby towns and communes. This last project is part of the Kazakh-Romanian Energy Investment Fund program, which will generate total investments of approximately 1 billion USD in the coming years. To sum up, our plans are important for the economic and social environments, both at the local and national level", added Utekov.

In 2018, Petromidia recorded 11 new business records, with historical levels reached on processed raw materials, petroleum products obtained, gasoline and diesel production, aircraft fuel, white product yields, refining capacity utilization. These include the improvement of the energy efficiency index and the reduction of technological losses. Also this year, Rompetrol Rafinare proposed to exceed the 6 million tons of processed raw materials, which would represent a new historical record.

"We operate in a volatile environment with fluctuations in refining margins, with spectacular exchange rate changes, and so on. There are factors that we can not control, but which do not discourage us, but motivate us to be even more proactive. I can give you a clear example. Even if last year we had a negative net result, operational results speak for themselves. We have exceeded records in more than 20 chapters, which will be recorded in the history of Petromidia as an extraordinary performance. Ultimately, this has to be a refinators way: not to be influenced by what is happening in the market environment and focus on production, as, as time has proven us, the refining industry fluctuates. However, we need to remain consistent", underlines the General Manager of Rompetrol Rafinare.

Yedil Utekov believes that besides the investments made during the last 12 years, the decisive factor that has contributed to the achievement of the current performances is the human factor. Therefore, without the refinery specialists, be they Kazakhs or Romanians, it would not have been possible for all these records. "Also, the group's strategy, which puts significant value on synergy, has contributed to these exceptional results. The refineries operated by Rompetrol Rafinare in Romania, Petromidia and Vega, are in perfect synergy and offer each other raw materials through which the activity is optimized. We are look upon our key figures because they are the best radiography of our work. Last year, we exceeded records, amongst other things: the quantity of processed raw materials (5.92 million tons), petroleum products (5.78 million tons), gasoline (1.36 million tons), gas oil (2.75 million tons) and aircraft fuel (317,000 tons). These include improving the Energy Efficiency Index - EEI (96.1) and reducing technological losses (0.83% by weight)", says Rompetrol Rafinare’s General Manager.

"We are glad that we are part of Petromidia's story and we are sure that this refinery will become stronger. We all know the history of this place, the heavy moments when many rushed to see the end of Petromidia. But the power of this industrial platform, given by skilled people and inspired strategies, especially those of recent years, has shown that Petromidia is a barometer in the Romanian economy. So, I think we're only talking about the first 40 years of a successful story that we build together every day", concludes Yedil Utekov.

For source of the interview, click here.