Hellenic Petroleum Prepares for Tougher Global Marine Fuel Rules

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ATHENS, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Hellenic Petroleum, Greece’s biggest oil refiner, said on Thursday that two of its three refineries are already compatible with tougher global marine fuel rules.

UN agency the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will prohibit ships from using fuels with sulphur content above 0.5 percent from Jan. 1, 2020, compared with 3.5 percent today, unless they are equipped with exhaust gas cleaning systems.

Hellenic, which exports more than half of its output, said that its refineries in Elefsina and Thessaloniki have already adjusted to the new rules.

“We’re sitting quite positively on the readiness scale, given that two of our three refineries are actually IMO compatible,” Deputy Chief Executive officer Andreas Shiamishis told an analyst conference.

Hellenic said that its sole refinery which produces high sulphur fuel oil, Aspropyrgos, will “go IMO live” in November after some tests in the second quarter.

It reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) adjusted for oil inventory holdings at 156 million euros ($178 million) for the fourth quarter, an eight percent year-on-year drop but in line with analysts average forecast of 158 million euros in a Reuters poll.

Refining sales volumes rose 6 percent in October to December to 4 million tonnes.

Hellenic last year raised 284 million euros from the sale of a stake in Greek gas grid DESFA. The proceeds helped it reduce net debt by 19 percent last year to 1.5 billion euros.

It said it will pay a total dividend of 0.75 euros a share, up from 0.40 euros last year. ($1 = 0.8792 euros) (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou Editing by Alexander Smith)

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