Essar Oil UK plan to invest $250 million in capex and maintenance at Stanlow to ramp up throughput, improve yields and revenues

Announcement follows strong Q4 figures to cap robust FY17 performance

  • Major investment in 2018 will increase annual throughput from 68 million to 75 million barrels
  • Projects will deliver enhanced yields of high value products, reduce crude costs and drive revenue growth

Q4 FY17 (March ending) highlights

  • EBITDA at $86 million vs $55 million in Q4 FY16
  • Current Price Gross Refining Margin (CP GRM) at $9.2/bbl vs $6.8/bbl in Q4 FY16

FY17 (March ending) highlights

  • Revenues of $4.92 billion in the fiscal year
  • Current Price Gross Refining Margin (CP GRM) delta above KBC Northwest Europe Cracking Margins benchmark margin at $4.2/bbl vs $3.0/bbl in FY16
  • Strong financial position with a net worth of $981 million
  • Successful entry into the direct aviation fuel supply market for major airlines
  • Expansion of UK retail network to 29 stations, which has further grown to 36 in August 2017

London, September 6th 2017: Essar Oil (UK) Limited, which owns and operates the Stanlow Refinery, today confirmed significant capex investment and reported strong Q4 figures and financial results for the financial year ending March 31st 2017.

Operational and financial performance:  Key Indicators

March ending

Q4 FY17

Q4 FY16



Throughput (in MMT)





Gross Revenue (in $m)





KBC benchmark ($/bbl)





CP GRM ($/bbl)





∆ KBC v CP GRM ($/bbl)





EBITDA (in $m)





Profit before tax (in $m)





Profit after Tax (in $m)





Stanlow margins over the KBC Benchmark improved to $4.2/bbl in FY17 due to ongoing margin booster initiatives, despite the industry benchmark dropping $2.1/bbl from the previous year.

The refinery, which as a key national asset produces 16% of the UK’s road transport fuel demand, processed 9.09 MMT of crude, a 1.3% increase on the previous year’s 8.97 MMT.

Essar Oil UK Non-Executive Chairman, Prashant Ruia, 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.  It also demonstrates Essar’s commitment to remain invested in the oil and gas sector.”

Essar Oil UK Chief Executive Officer, S. Thangapandian, commented:  “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.  In addition, the continued ambitious expansion of our UK retail network and direct aviation fuel supply business are also important strategic elements in the drive to build a fully integrated downstream energy company.  This is on the back of a strong FY17 performance, following record results posted the previous year.  Although we saw a marked $2.1/bbl decrease in the wider industry benchmark margin, our excellent operational reliability and ongoing margin booster projects saw our own margins reduce by less than half this amount, which demonstrates the enormous progress made within the business.”

Essar Oil UK Chief Financial Officer, Sampath P, said:  “With a strong financial base and key improvement projects set to be completed this fiscal, we are now looking forward to the continued growth of the company with an increased commercial focus.  Despite a weaker market, this is another impressive set of results that has helped to build a business with a net worth of almost a billion dollars."

Essar continues to deliver improvement at Stanlow

Including FY18, Essar will have invested over $800 million since acquiring Stanlow in July 2011, helping to turnaround the business and deliver significant improvement in the following areas:

  1. Safety performance remains a critical business objective, with continuous investment in Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) to further improve standards. Stanlow achieved the Order of Distinction for 21 consecutive Gold awards in the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Health and Safety Awards 2017. Connection to the national gas grid enabled the refinery to meet tighter environmental legislation regarding emissions.
  2. A continued focus on margin booster initiatives and cost efficiencies has seen a significant improvement in the operating and financial performance over this period. In FY15 Essar reconfigured and optimised Stanlow to a single train operation which increased the yield of high margin products such as gasoline and middle distillates, while the crude slate has been materially diversified with the introduction of 37 new grades. 
  3. These major initiatives have resulted in a latest quarter delta margin improvement of +$4/bbl, raising Stanlow’s margin from under $1/bbl to almost $5/bbl above the KBC Northwest Europe Cracking Margins
  4. Investment in the Tiger Cub project and additional works planned for the major block turnaround in 2018 will drive further margin upsides by way of increased throughput and unit margins. As such, Essar will then have delivered a hydrocarbon margin improvement of +$5/bbl since acquisition in 2011.

During FY17, a number of new monthly records were established for the highest CD4 Distiller crude throughput under Essar ownership, the highest ever amount of residue upgraded via Europe’s largest Catalytic Cracker and the highest ever production levels of diesel, alkylate and propylene.

Already a major player in the wholesale supply of Jet A-1 to UK airports, Essar secured contracts for the direct supply of aviation fuel to major airlines such as Emirates, Etihad, and Oman Air.

An award winning entry to the UK retail market has seen the Essar network grow to 36 stations, with planning permission secured for the first company owned site to be opened later this year.

Essar Oil UK has established working capital facilities and no long term debt.