Essar Oil plans $250 mn capex for UK refinery, 400 fuel vends

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London, Sep 6 (IANS) Ruia brothers-led Essar Oil UK on Wednesday announced its plans to invest $250 million in capital expenditure and maintenance at Stanlow refinery to boost production and revenues.

The company also aims to have 400 petrol vends in Britain in the next five years.

“Major investment in 2018 will increase annual throughput from 68 million to 75 million barrels,” the company said in a release here.

Essar Oil UK Non-Executive Chairman Prashant Ruia in a statement said the major investment “we have confirmed in Stanlow will materially increase throughput and further grow revenues, building on the tremendous progress we have made in turning around the business over the past six years”.

“Essar has committed this year to a significant multi-million dollar capex investment in the Tiger Cub project at Stanlow to deliver improved yields across the product slate and drive revenue growth,” Chief Executive Officer S. Thangapandian said.

“The project will deliver enhanced yields of high value products and reduce crude costs,” he said.

Refinery capacity would increase from 9.09 million tonnes per annum to 9.7 million tonnes by March 2018, he added.

Essar Oil UK owns and operates the Stanlow refinery complex, which produces over 16 per cent of transport fuels in the UK, the company said.

The company reported a 17 per cent fall in net profit for the fourth quarter ended March at $54 million, mainly caused by a one-time tax adjustment. It had posted a profit after tax (PAT) of $65 million in the same period of last year.

Essar’s gross refining margin (GRM) on turning every barrel of crude into fuel during the quarter in consideration improved to $9.2 per barrel as compared to the GRM of $6.8 in the same period a year ago.

For the fiscal 2016-17, the company reported a net profit of $168 million, which was a major drop compared to the PAT of $244 million in the previous year.

The company currently has 39 petrol vends in the UK and looks to increase this number to 55 by the end of this year, Thangapandian said.

“Our long-term target is to have 400 outlets in five years,” he added.

The company has also entered into the aviation fuel supply market, selling the fuel produced at Stanlow to major airlines such as Emirates, Etihad, Jet2.com and Oman Air.

Essar has invested over $800 million since acquiring Stanlow in July 2011 from the American giant Shell, the company said.

–IANS

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