Growth is on the rise for Cyprus, whose GDP has risen more than 3 percent year on year and is projected to continue increasing at the same rate through 2020. These predictions are putting the country on the map as one of the fastest growing economies in the Eurozone. One big contributor to this growth is Cyprus’s oldest and biggest oil producer, Petrolina.
Petrolina started out in the mid 1900s as the first Cypriot owned company to operate in the import, storage, distribution and sale of petroleum products. Today the company is publicly listed on the Cyprus stock exchange and has a network of more than 100 gas stations across the country. It supplies fuel to the motor, industrial, domestic, marine and aviation sectors. In an exclusive interview with South EU Summit magazine, the company’s Executive Director, Dinos Lefkaritis, highlighted that the company is continually looking to diversify its offerings by investing in additional projects.
One such project is the company’s decision to provide liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to Cypriot consumers. The alternative fuel, created from natural gas or as a by-product of oil refining, is cheaper than gasoline and less detrimental to the environment. The company waited through years of delays and a series of bureaucratic slowdowns before being approved as the first company to operate an LPG station in Cyprus. One of the many setbacks was a governmental investigation based on Petrolina’s decision to sign a joint venture in 2016 with three other companies, Hellenic Petroleum Ltd, Synergas Cooperative Society and Intergaz Ltd.
This decision was spurred in part by the state’s decision to require all petroleum and LPG companies to relocate from Larnaca, to Vasilikos. This choice was made in an effort to create a centralized energy hub in Cyprus and to minimize energy infrastructure in the country’s tourist areas. As part of the venture, these companies will work together in the construction, operation, and storage of their collective LPG supplies in Vasilikos. While the joint venture was an economic decision in anticipation of the logistical move, the government feared it may create a monopolistic market of LPG. In the end, however, Petrolina was granted permission and the company opened its first station in August of 2017.
Another big impact on the company’s dynamic business strategy is it’s move to the country’s new energy hub. Petrolina is currently in the process of moving its operations to Vasilikos and it hopes to have its new base secured and running by 2018. “Yes, it is a big investment but we feel that it is good for the company,” Lefkaritis said. He added that the business is currently in the process of constructing various structures for its trucks and tankers, and that it hopes to have the base prepared in full as soon as possible.
In addition to all these changes, the company continues to keep corporate social responsibility as one of its top priorities. Petrolina carries out several activities in corporate social responsibility through its support of various sports teams across the country. In fact, the company recently donated nearly 27,000 Euros to a charity created by Cypriot football players called ‘Goal in Life’, thanks to a successful festival the company put on for the third year in a row. “Petrolina is always about family, because we are Cypriots. We have to give back to our people, to our clients, and to our people who need it most. To offer whatever we can. This is something that is very strongly in Petrolina’s DNA, especially in athletics,” Lefkaritis said.
While it’s obvious that many changes are taking place in the near future for Petrolina, it is also clear that the company’s strong standing will continue to make it a leader in an increasingly dynamic market.