OMV Petrom approves renewable fuels plant for Petrobrazi refinery

June 11, 2024
OMV Petrom has taken final investment decision to build a new plant for production of sustainable aviation fuel and renewables-based diesel at the operator’s Petrobrazi refinery in southeast Romania.

OMV Aktiengesellschaft’s majority owned OMV Petrom SA has taken final investment decision (FID) to build a new plant for production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewables-based diesel at the operator’s 4.5-million tonne/year (tpy) Petrobrazi refinery in southeast Romania, near Ploiesti City.

Approved on June 11 at an overall investment of €560 million, the proposed plant will be equipped to process a mix of biofeedstocks to produce a combined 250,000 tpy of SAF and hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO; biodiesel), including by-products such as bio-naphtha and bio-LPG, OMV said.

To be designed with flexibility for enabling OMV Petrom to adjust production slates at any given time based on market demand and feedstock availability, the SAF-HVO plant will receive most of its 11,000-tpy hydrogen supply required for the manufacturing process from the refinery’s recently approved €190-million on-site hydrogen plant that—once completed—will include two water electrolysis plants of 35 Mw and 20 Mw capable of producing about 8,000 tpy of carbon-free green hydrogen (OGJ Online, Feb. 27, 2024).

Slated for startup in 2028, the SAF-HVO plant also will enable the refinery to meet the operator’s expectations for gradually rising regional demand for low-carbon products, while simultaneously helping Romania reduce renewable-fuel imports into the country, said Radu Căprău, OMV Petrom executive board member responsible for the operator’s downstream business.

OMV Petrom said it expects the refinery’s integration of green hydrogen into sustainable-fuel production will result in at least a 70% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared to conventional fuels.

To ensure access to a safe source of renewable feedstocks for the SAF-HVO plant, OMV Petrom previously acquired a 50% stake in Respiră Verde SRL, which collects up to 10,000 tpy of used edible oil—including used cooking oil—from Romanian hospitality and retail businesses such as hotels and restaurants, OMV Petrom said upon revealing the acquisition in November 2023.

Decarbonization strategy

The SAF-HVO and green hydrogen projects come as part of OMV Petrom’s broader transformation plans for the Petrobrazi refinery in line with the operator’s commitment under its Strategy 2030 to support a reduced-carbon future, according to Christina Verchere, OMV Petrom’s chief executive officer.

“In total, by 2030, we are committing €11 billion to transform the company for a lower-carbon future, both in Romania and the region," Verchere said.

As part of its journey to net-zero operations by 2050, OMV Petrom earlier confirmed it is targeting production of 450,000 tpy of renewable diesel and SAF from sustainable feedstock by 2030 per the operator’s sustainability framework launched in 2021 (OGJ Online, Oct. 13, 2022).

In 2022, the Petrobrazi refinery began tests runs for production of SAF via co-processing of locally produced rapeseed oil following a pilot program at the site performed in July 2020 (OGJ Online, Nov. 19, 2020).

About the Author

Robert Brelsford | Downstream Editor

Robert Brelsford joined Oil & Gas Journal in October 2013 as downstream technology editor after 8 years as a crude oil price and news reporter on spot crude transactions at the US Gulf Coast, West Coast, Canadian, and Latin American markets. He holds a BA (2000) in English from Rice University and an MS (2003) in education and social policy from Northwestern University.