FuelsEurope Position Paper on REACH and the Refining industry

The contribution of the Refining Industry to the economy of the EU and Member States

The Petroleum Refining Industry is a key sector for the EU, fuelling more than 90% of transport and supplying vital products for many other areas of the economy. 140,000 people are directly employed on its sites and 600,000 more are involved with the distribution and sale of products, plus many more induced and indirect jobs. The Commission Communication of May 2014 on European Energy Supply Security stated that “it is important to maintain competitive refining capacities in Europe to avoid overdependence on imported products and to be able to process crude oil stocks with sufficient flexibility”1. Refineries are located in most Member States and are important contributors to GDP, high-skill jobs, technical know-how and are a valuable, integrated part of the industrial supply chain. Across the EU, the sector generates 23 billion euro a year of added value and 270 billion in revenue from fuel taxes.

Beyond transport fuels, petroleum products are used as feedstocks for further downstream processes that contribute to a wide range of products that we use in our everyday lives: from plastics used in packaging to synthetic fibres in clothing, from detergents used in domestic cleaning to agricultural fertilisers. The close integration with sectors such as petrochemicals strengthens those valuable industries. Additionally, it is very hard to replace such products and their feedstocks with, valuable and sustainable alternatives.