Commissioner Arias Cañete welcomes the Refining Industry’s Vision 2050 and expressed his confidence that the industry could contribute to meeting the long-term climate objectives

The eighth edition of the EU Refining Forum which attracted around 130 participants representing Member States, the Commission, Industry and other stakeholders gave the opportunity to the refining industry to outline its Vision 2050, along-term strategy for low carbon liquid fuels and other refinery products, progressively using new feedstocks to reduce carbon emissions from the transport sector and contributing to meeting the EU’s overall 2050 climate objectives.

Dominique Ristori, Director General DG Energy, reiterated in his opening remarks the strategic role of the refining industry in the energy transition, underlined the contribution of the industry to EU GDP, jobs, growth and competitiveness, and stressed the need to keep refining competitive and innovative.

Megan Richards, Director DG Energy, chaired the meeting.

John Cooper, Director General FuelsEurope, explained that the industry’s Vision 2050 consists of liquid fuels and products, progressively lower in carbon emissions, increasingly using new feedstocks. He commented, “liquid fuels, thanks to their superior energy density, will be required for the long term, in particular, for the aviation, marine and heavy-duty sectors where almost no sustainable alternative technology can be found.”

John Cooper added, “multiple technologies can be deployed to make a significant reduction in the carbon intensity of liquid fuels, and these low carbon liquid fuels will reduce emissions of all vehicles in circulation”.

John Cooper concluded: “Our Vision 2050 is a fundamental evolution in the refining industry’s long-term strategy that would result in a shift from a petroleum-based feedstock to new feedstocks such as renewables, waste or captured CO2. Let’s be clear, however, this transition will require time for research, innovation and market readiness. This is a long-term process, requiring significant investments and a suitable policy framework.”

Repsol, Statoil, and OMV, all operating refining in the EU, presented a number of low-carbon pilot projects.

Francisco Vasquez, Executive Director Refining at Repsol, highlighted that his company was continuously investing in energy efficiency, one of the largest producers of HVO, a sustainable biofuel, and exploring options in advanced biofuels from bio and plastic waste origin.

Thomas Gängl, Senior VP Refining and Petrochemicals, stated that OMV has already started the journey of reducing its CO2 footprint by conducting research in technologies such as e-fuels, co-processing of biomass, waste plastic to fuel and the installation of 10 hydrogen filling stations.

Mike Sernik, VP Refinery optimisation at Statoil, repeated his company’s commitment to responding to climate change by developing low carbon liquid fuels using biomass and green hydrogen and deploying the Carbon Capture and Storage technology.

Member States including Belgium, Austria, Poland, Italy and the UK, all in the process of preparing their National Action Plans, reminded the forum about the importance of technology neutrality and low carbon liquid fuels, the strong contribution of refining to the European economy and the need to maintain the competitiveness of this strategic industry, and stressed the importance of a stable regulatory framework to encourage investments.

ACEA, represented by Petr Doljesi, Mobility and Sustainable Transport Director, and Aldo Celasco, Commercial Vehicles Director, stressed that there is no silver bullet for the future and underlined the importance of technology neutrality.

Artur Runger-Metzger, Director DG Climate Action, reported on the Commission’s working plan for the development of the Mid-Century Strategy and highlighted that the Commission plans to share a draft strategy this year before the next COP in Katowice.

Corinna Zierold of IndustriAll stressed the importance of the social aspects for a fair energy transition and made specific reference to the need to avoid job destruction.

In his concluding remarks, Commissioner Arias Cañete stressed that meeting the 2050 climate objectives is not a question anymore. What remains under discussion is the means to achieve the objectives. He welcomed the refining Industry’s Vision 2050 and commented that he was confident that the industry would be able to contribute to meeting the targets.

Bela Kelemen, President FuelsEurope, welcomed the continued interest from Member States, the Commission and other stakeholders in the Refining Forum, thanked the Commission, DG Energy, for organising this constructive discussion forum and called for support in delivering the industry’s Vision 2050.