The Group owns and operates three refineries in Aspropyrgos, Elefsina and Thessaloniki, which account for approximately 65% of the country’s total refining capacity and combine a storage capacity for crude oil and petroleum products of 6.65 million m3.
The Group’s refineries operate as a single, unified system. Energy efficiency is a main pillar of the Refining strategy, with sustained efforts to improve the relevant indicators. Access, as well as the flexibility of the Group's refineries to process a wide range of crude oil types are one of its key competitive advantages
Τhe three refineries and their individual technical characteristics are described below:
The high-complexity, FCC-type refinery in Aspropyrgos was built in 1958. One of the most modern refineries in Europe, it has undergone several upgrades, the most important ones being:
- 1986: residue conversion project and installation of FCC, mild hydrocracker, visbreaker and CCR units,
- 1999: refining capacity increase to 148,000 bbl/d and
- 2004: revamp and extensive upgrade of the conversion units.
The refinery has a significant number of main distillation units and subsequent conversion units, including: a fluid catalytic cracker (FCC), a vacuum distillation unit, a mild hydrocracker and a visbreaker for processing atmospheric residue. It has a significant gasoline production capacity through the isomerization and reforming units (CCR).
The refinery fully complies with the new environmental regulations and safety requirements. It delivers petroleum products in accordance with the highest EU standards.
It is very flexible as far as production, storage and distribution of products is concerned; therefore, gasoline or diesel production may be increased based on market trends. The refinery owns a large private port, an extensive crude oil distribution pipeline network from and to the crude oil unloading and storage installation in Pachi, Megara, and a distribution pipeline for finished and semi-finished products from and to the Elefsina refinery. It also has the main responsibility for fuel supply through pipeline to the “Eleftherios Venizelos” Athens International Airport.
The refinery is connected to the gas network, with significant energy and environmental benefits.
Bunkering fuel specifications globally changed in 1.1.2020 (IMO/MARPOL Directive). The Aspropyrgos refinery began implementing the new IMO production standards in November 2019, in order to respond to changes in the market. In particular, the refinery further diversified its crude slate through processing very low sulfur crude oils (“IMO crude oil”), with the objective of producing 0.5% sulfur fuel oil and marine gasoil.
In December, with the completion of the conversion of the gasoline blending components MTBE and TAME production units into ETBE and TAEE production units respectively, the Aspropyrgos refinery began producing bio-ethers. The modifications were put in place so that HELLENIC PETROLEUM can meet the obligation to supply E5 gasoline in the domestic market, without any bioethanol addition, to improve the quality of the final product and substitute imports.
The Elefsina refinery has a refining capacity of 106,000 bbl/d and its upgrade was completed in 2012, a project of € 1.5 billion making it one of the most modern and complex in the Mediterranean region.
The upgrade includes the installation of three main units: a high-pressure hydrocracking unit (hydrocracker) with a capacity of 39,000 bbl/d; a thermal cracking unit (flexicoker) with a capacity of 20,000 bbl/d; and a vacuum distillation unit.
It is a strategically important refinery for the Group due to its high storage capacity (3,3million m3 of crude oil and petroleum products) and the logistics infrastructure for imports and exports management, including a large private port and a tank truck loading station. The refinery is connected to the terminal in Pachi, Megara, and the Aspropyrgos refinery through a pipeline network.
The upgrade significantly boosted the Group’s competitiveness, as it increased the yield of middle distillates, replacing high-sulfur fuel oil and maximizing diesel (ULSD) production by consuming high-sulfur crude oil. The investment also reduced emissions, thus significantly improving the environmental impact. Specifically, sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions decreased by 70.2%, nitrogen oxide (“NOx”) emissions by 11.6%, and particulate matter (PMS) emissions by 84.2%.
Finally, upon completion of the upgrade project, the refinery has increased flexibility in terms of crude oil supply, as it can process 100% high-sulfur crude oil, heavy crude oil products, and semi-finished products in the hydrocracker complexes.
The operation of the flexicoker unit also marked a substantial improvement, after the successful and safe completion of the maintenance work in the third quarter of 2017.
The Thessaloniki refinery is of a hydroskimming type and has a 1.4 million m3 storage capacity. It is the only refinery in Northern Greece and has the capability of supplying both the domestic market and the neighboring countries in Southeast Europe.
The refinery’s upgrade was successfully completed in 2011 and it can be divided into three main projects: (a) distillation units renovation, (b) storage capacity increase for better flexibility in crude oil supply, and (c) a new Continuous Catalytic Regeneration Reformer (CCR, 15,000 bbl/d) as well as a desulfurization unit for maximizing gasoline and diesel production.
The refinery is connected to the Group’s refinery in Skopje (the only refinery in FYROM) through a pipeline.
The upgraded Thessaloniki refinery continued the refining of high margin crudes, minimizing the additive (ΜΤΒΕ) in gasoline production and the consumption of natural gas. The new Continuous Catalytic Reformer (CCR) Unit has enabled the refinery to process additional naptha from the Elefsina refinery, on top of its own naptha production, maximising the system refining margins.
The Group’s domestic refineries operate as a single system (hub). Consequently, monthly crude oil procurement, production planning, and sales forecast are integrated processes for the entire network, thus maximizing refining value and profits for the Group, always based on domestic demand and current prices in the regions of Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Europe.
In 1999, the Group acquired the OKTA refinery in Skopje (Republic of North Macedonia) through its subsidiary, EL.P.ET. BALKANIKI.
OKTA is connected to the Thessaloniki refinery through a pipeline for the transportation of high added value products. Its location offers a significant competitive advantage in terms of the distribution of products into the local market, through marketing companies, and exports to neighboring countries in the Balkans. OKTA is focused on the trading and marketing of petroleum products