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Stanlow, 6th July, 2022: Essar Oil (UK) Limited (“Essar” or “the Company”) is pleased to provide an update on first quarter operating and financial performance (three months ending 30th June 2022).
Strong operating performance, supporting UK demand for diesel
Domestic sales volumes continued to rise to a new high since covid. Volumes of 1.72 million tons, up 10% from the same quarter last year (Q1 2021: 1.57m). Volumes were up 8% in the first half of the calendar year 2022 to 3.2 million tons against the same period last year (Jan-June 2021: 2.96m). Consolidated revenues during the quarter (on an IFRS basis) of $3.72 billion (Q1 2021/2: $2.03 billion).
The UK has historically been reliant on Russia to meet its diesel needs, and a key industry-wide challenge is to source these barrels from alternative domestic or non-Russian sources. In support of the UK Government’s announced ban on Russian imports to be implemented by the end of this calendar year, Essar ceased importing all Russian products (including diesel) from mid-April. The Company has successfully replaced any shortfall from this strategy by maximising indigenous diesel production as well as sourcing non-Russian diesel.
Our objective continues to be to support the UK’s longer term fuel security and resilience, and do what we can to meet the needs of our customers in the face of tighter levels of supply. All crude processed at Stanlow comes from US, West African and North Sea sources.
Financing & VAT
Essar confirms that during the quarter, trading was significantly ahead of previous forecasts driven by increased demand for locally produced fuel amidst the tight global supply situation. This stronger financial performance has enabled Essar to improve its capital structure and strengthen its balance sheet. Essar’s overall debt levels for the current fiscal year are significantly less than 1x expected EBITDA, in line with our low leverage approach to capital structure. A stronger balance sheet also ensures we can deliver on our strategic objectives, in particular our low carbon agenda by investing in hydrogen production, carbon capture, biofuels and other similar opportunities.
The Company confirms it has paid all historic covid-related deferred tax payments in full.
Transitioning to a low carbon future
Essar continues to deliver on its transition strategy. In January, we announced the formation of Vertex Hydrogen, to build the UK’s largest hydrogen hub at Stanlow. Vertex Hydrogen is a critical investment for Essar in helping us achieve our vision of becoming the UK's first low carbon refinery while supplying UK markets with the sustainable fuels of the future. The £1 billion investment, which will sit at the heart of the HyNet low carbon cluster, will produce a total of 1GW per year of hydrogen from 2026, equivalent to the domestic heating energy used by a major British city region.
In February, Essar announced plans to install the UK’s first £45 million hydrogen-powered furnace, another key milestone in its continued commitment to becoming the UK’s first low carbon refinery. The furnace arrived in the Port of Liverpool, before being transported to Stanlow later this month. The new furnace (which provides the heat required for the refining process) is a vital piece of kit to support the decarbonisation of Essar’s Stanlow operations.
Deepak Maheshwari, Chief Executive Officer of Essar Oil UK, said:
“After a very challenging 18 months, we have made huge progress on all fronts in the first quarter of 2022/23. I would like to thank our people for their hard work, dedication and commitment in what has been an unprecedented two years for our business and the sector as a whole. Volumes are now largely at pre-covid levels and we have been able to significantly strengthen our balance sheet and operating performance. We accelerated our support of the UK’s transition away from relying on Russian products and have ceased all Russian imports, while ramping up production of UK-made diesel. We look forward now with real confidence and a very clear strategy – we will be the UK’s first low carbon refinery – supplying the fuels of the future, both in terms of low carbon processes for traditional fuels, and also biofuels and a huge investment into the UK’s hydrogen future. We are delivering on our strategy and securing the long term future of this important facility.