Refineries process crude oils into finished products by breaking them down into their components. They are then selectively reconfigured into new products such as fuels and lubricants for automotive, ship, and aircraft engines. Refining by-products can also be used in petrochemical processes to form materials such as plastics and foams.
With a crude refining capacity of about 15 million barrels per day, representing 16% of total global capacity, the EU is the second largest producer of petroleum products in the world after the United States.
In 2010 the European Commission published a study on the supply of petroleum products in the EU and infrastructure priorities for 2020 and beyond.
EU Refining Forum
The EU Refining Forum discusses planned regulatory proposals which may impact the refining industry and the EU's secure supply of petroleum products. It brings together representatives from the industry, EU countries, the European Parliament, and the European Commission, as well as other stakeholders. The next EU Refining Forum takes place on 1 March 2016 in Brussels.
The Forum is a key follow up to the previously held EU Refining Roundtable. DG Energy organises two meetings of the Forum every year.
EU Refining fitness check
As part of its Better Regulation policy the Commission initiated a programme for Regulatory Fitness and Performance (REFIT) in 2010. This is a continuous process, affecting the whole policy cycle – from the design of a piece of legislation to implementation, enforcement, evaluation and, where justified, revision. One of the actions possible under REFIT is a ‘Fitness Check’ - a comprehensive policy evaluation aimed at assessing whether the regulatory framework for a particular policy sector is ‘fit for purpose’.
Fitness Checks provide an evidence-based critical analysis of whether EU actions are proportionate to their objectives and delivering as expected. A Fitness Check pays particular attention to identifying any synergies (e.g. improved performance, simplification, lower costs, reduced burdens) or inefficiencies (e.g. excessive burdens, overlaps, gaps, inconsistencies and/or obsolete measures) within the group of measures which may have appeared over time, and help to identify the cumulative impact of the interventions covered, covering both costs and benefits.
The oil refining fitness check evaluates how ten pieces of the most relevant EU legislation drawn from the fields of environment, climate action, taxation and energy affect the petroleum refining sector. The analysis covers a wide range of important aspects including five key evaluation criteria (effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value). Consideration is also given to the sector’s competitiveness position from 2000 to 2012 and issues such as excessive regulatory burden, overlaps, gaps inconsistencies or obsolete measures.