Vega Ploiesti, part of Rompetrol Rafinare, celebrates today 110 years of activity and it’s the oldest refinery in Romania. The crude oil refining unit delivered its first shipment of petroleum products in February, 1906.
“It’s an important moment for KMG International Group and for the Romanian refining industry. The evolution of the Vega Ploiesti refinery reflects the history of the refining sector in Romania, with the struggles of the time and the success story of becoming together with the Group the sole bitumen producer in Romania and one of the major suppliers of hexane in Central and Eastern Europe.” - says Catalin Dumitru, Vice President of KMG International.
Vega Ploiesti Company was established on January 5th, 1905 under the name “Vega” - Romanian Anonymous Society for oil refining, with an initial capital of 5 million lei in gold and German majority shareholders.
In March 1905, the Board of Directors of the Company, chaired by Titu Maiorescu decided the construction of a refinery to the north of Ploiesti, close to the future railway station Ploiesti – Nord of the local railway Ploiesti – Valenii de munte. The refinery was designed taking into account the landscape. The oil reservoirs and refining units were arranged according to the principle of “natural flow”.
The construction works began in May 1905 on a land of about 50.4 hectares bought in March the same year. Later, half an acre was bought near Teleajan River for the construction of the pump house that will supply the refinery with the necessary water, and 18.2 hectares of land were bought in 1933 for the extension of the refinery’s core activities (reservoirs, units, access roads, railway depot).
Thus the first oil refining, fuel oil distillation, crude gasoline rectification, kerosene and oil refining units are commissioned. 145 employees worked for the refinery in 1905 (1 director, 6 engineers, 7 administrative officers, 11 foremen, 120 skilled employees and workers).
On November 18th, 1905 the refinery commissions the oil refining units. Feedstock was initially supplied by carriages, then by railway tank cars and finally by building and connecting the reservoirs to three pipelines – one in Bustenari – Recea and two in Moreni, with a connection in Baicoi.
Among the innovations implemented at the refinery it’s worth noting the unique oil refining method consisting of selective refining of petroleum fractions based on the specific solubility of various classes of hydrocarbons in liquid sulfur dioxide that allowed the selective extraction of aromatic hydrocarbons (benzene, toluene, xylene, etc.). This method was developed by Lazar Edeleanu (refinery director 1906 - 1913) in 1908.
The method was patented in Romania (1908), in the USA (1909) and in Austro-Hungary (1910) and widely used in France (at Rouen). It is estimated that there were 80 “Edeleanu units” around the world in 1960.
In 1990 Vega Ploiesti refinery becomes a commercial stock company and opens 3 fuel distribution stations (the first one near the refinery in 1993). In 1997 amid the difficult economic situation, the company was on the list of 16 companies proposed for liquidation for a period of eight months.
The majority of the Ploiesti refinery shares are taken over in May 1999 by Rompetrol Group (currently KMG International).
With the acquisition and integration of the Petromidia Navodari refinery into the Group in October 2000, the development strategy aimed at transforming Vega refinery from a classic refinery to a producer and supplier of special products and solutions (organic solvents, special purpose bitumen, heating biofuel, and other dedicated products - white spirit, n-hexane, etc.).
Aiming to achieve technological performance and increase the quality of finished petroleum products, the two processing units of the Group are complementary and mutually reinforcing. Petromidia refinery provides the Ploiesti unit with all the raw materials / semi-products necessary for the production of special products with a high added value.
The investments made by the Group and the sole shareholder – KazMunayGas in consolidating and expanding the core activities of Vega refinery since 1999 amount for approx. 61 million USD and allowed achieving historical production records in 2014 – 61.400 tons of bitumen and 64.000 tons of n-hexane.
The refinery processed 252.000 tons of feedstock in the first nine months of the year – 13.5% more than during the same period last year. It achieved a record braking result in September the production and delivery of bitumen - 12.000 tons.
The overall quantity of processed feedstock at Vega Ploiesti refinery during 1906 – September 2015 amounts for 67 million tons, with a maximum level of 1.13 million tons reached in 1979 – the moment Petromidia Navodari refinery was commissioned. Together with Petromidia Navodari – the largest exporter of petroleum products in Romania, the niche products coming from Vega Ploiesti reach Hungary, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Czech Republic and Germany.
Corporate Communications and PR Department