Rompetrol Rafinare, member of the KMG International Group, posted a 50 percent drop in operating profit after the first three months of this year to USD 17.163 million from USD 34.6 million in the same period last year amid international developments.
From an operational point of view, the Petromidia refinery managed to reach 1.35 million tons of raw materials processed in the Atmospheric and Vacuum Distillation Unit in the first quarter of 2019, up by 14 kt compared to the same period of the last year. Improvements on one of the main refinery plants are due to the implementation of the Advanced Process Control software, which helped to reach a very high level of refinery supply during winter.
The Vega Refinery (a 114-year processing unit and the only domestic bitumen and hexane producer) recorded 79 kt of processed raw materials in the first quarter of the year, up from the first quarter of 2018 by about 3 percent. At the same time, the utilization rate of refining capacity reached 95.77 percent, an increase of 2.83 percent compared to the same period last year, largely due to the increase in bitumen demand.
The two refineries work in perfect synergy, Petromidia provides the entire refinery in Ploiesti with raw materials needed to obtain special products with high added value (bitumen, solvents, hexane, heating fuels).
In this year, Rompetrol Rafinare proposed to exceed the 6 million tons of raw materials processed, which would represent a new record.
Rompetrol Rafinare’s gross turnover in Q1 amounted to more than USD 1.13 billion, slightly down from the level achieved in Q1 2018 (USD 1.2 billion). At the same time, the inflation rate in Romania, rising by more than 50 percent, as well as the fluctuation of the globally important coins (RON depreciation against USD by 4 percent in comparasion with the December parity) led to an economic context that affects the overall financial result.
“Rompetrol Rafinare is still a barometer of performance, fact certified by the operational results on the same trend imposed in recent years. We are very pleased with the efforts of our specialists, who maintain high production standards. Financial results are determined 100 percent by factors we cannot control, but we are firmly convinced that by the end of the year we will see improvements in the international market. We have entered the 12th year of operation in Romania and, of course, the experience gained since 2007 and so far will help us record very good results by the end of the year,” said Yedil Utekov, General Director of Rompetrol Rafinare.
Independent of the operational activity, Q1 financial results were affected by international market conditions. EBITDA and net result were negatively influenced by the high volatility in the oil and gas market environment, which led to significant pressure on gross refining margins (35.1 USD/t in Q1 in 2019 compared to 44,5 USD/t in Q1 of 2018), along with the price pressure on the natural gas and electrical energy markets, growing at an importance pace from the levels of 2018. Thus, the operational result (EBITDA) registered a decrease of about 50 percent in Q1 2010 – over USD 17 million.
Rompetrol Rafinare continued to be a major contributor to Romania’s state budget, paying over 319 million USD in the first quarter of 2019. The main shareholders of Rompetrol Rafinare SA are KMG International (54.63 percent – directly and indirectly) and the Romanian State through the Ministry of Energy (44.7 percent).
Overall, the Petromidia refinery achieved very good operational results in the first quarter of 2019 for the main parameters such as: yield of white products obtained (86.5 percent wt), mechanical availability (97.5 percent) and an energy efficiency index (EEI) of 98 percent.
In the first months of 2019, the Vega refinery achieved very good operational performance in chapters such as: technological loss (0.74 percent), energy consumption (2.81 GJ/t) and mechanical availability (99 percent).
Gross turnover of the refining segment reached nearly USD 1 billion in the first quarter of 2019, down 5 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2018. The EBITDA result (USD 9.07 million in Q1 2019, compared to USD 29.5 million in Q1 2018) declined significantly mainly due to the market margin of the segment and due to the pressure of the prices of the natural gas and electricity market.
Petromidia refinery continued its production process optimization and operating costs optimizations through programs that started in 2014 and undergoing until present days with success.
For 2019, Rompetrol Rafinare approved an investment budget of over USD 63 milion, from which over 50 milion will be used for upgrading, maintenance and compliance within the Petromidia instalations.
The Petrochemical activity was taken over by Rompetrol Rafinare SA in 2014 and is fully integrated into the flow of propylene, utilities and logistics. Current petrochemical activity is carried out by Polypropylene (PP) and Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) plants.
Total production of polymers in Q1 2019 was 29 kt, down 32 percent from Q1 2018, when 43 kt were produced, a controlled decrease (i.e. the polietylene instalations worked at the optimal flow from the economical point of view) caused by the pressure of the market margins, that are at the lowest point registered in the last decade. However, sales were kept at a level similar to the ones in the Q1 of 2018, keeping the market share through sales from the existing stocks.
The petrochemical segment is the only Romanian polyethylene and polypropylene producer. Through a dynamic development strategy, the company was given a strong position on the domestic and regional markets – the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea region, Central and Eastern Europe.
The distribution segment recorded a consolidated gross turnover of over USD 654 million in the first quarter of 2019, up 9 percent year on year. Retail sales also rose 9 percent on retail fuel and 19 percent on wholesale carbons.
In the first quarter of 2019, compared to the first half of 2018, Platts’s US dollar quotations were about 13% lower for gasoline and 1 percent lower for diesel. At the same time, the national currency depreciated 10 percent against the US dollar. On the other hand, excise duties have been increased by 3.2 percent and fuel excises have increased since January 1, 2019 by 6.2 bani/liter (petrol) and 5.8 bani/liter (diesel).
At the end of March, the distribution segment of Rompetrol Downstream comprised 926 trading points (own stations, partner stations and mobile stations: express, internal bases of 8 and 20 cubic meters).