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EU policy recommendations

The European refining industry has amongst the world’s highest environmental and energy efficiency standards. Its refineries typically emit one-quarter less greenhouse gas emissions per unit output than those outside the European Union. Further regulation would undermine industrial competitiveness for no additional environmental benefit.

Policies need to be robust and flexible to adapt to changing circumstances but should remain consistent to encourage long-term investments.

As a key contributor to the EU’s economy, the refining industry in Europe should be enabled to compete on a level playing field with other global actors. Thus, policy action taken by the EU should set targets whilst avoiding distorting the market and allow the market to determine the best way to reach them, create conditions for a competitive European industry, and remain technology-neutral.

We support EU policy action that:

  • Upholds free markets
    EU policy should foster the functioning of the free market, rather than artificially distort it, which will only limit the competitiveness of EU industry.
  • Ensures access to energy at globally competitive prices
    Encouraging exploration and production of indigenous conventional and unconventional resources and expanding LNG imports would give European industry access to energy at a globally competitive cost.
  • Balances demand trends
    EU policy should ensure a level playing field for fuels, without favoring one fuel over another, and should ensure tax levels are directly proportional to the energy content of different energy products.
  • Avoids over-regulation
    EU policies should not add unnecessary costs for the refining sector. Punitive EU regulation should not cause refineries to exit Europe. EU policies should be transparent, predictable and based on cost/benefit analysis.
  • Sets targets and allows for flexibility
    Goal-based legislation is the most cost-effective way to achieve EU environmental and climate ambitions. Rather than prescribing detailed measures, EU policy should determine targets whilst allowing refiners to compete, innovate and invest to reach that goal.
  • Stimulates R&D to unlock innovation
    Regulatory measures should help stimulate R&D and unlock the necessary investment in low-carbon technologies to ensure industry can help deliver the energy transition in Europe. For example, alternative credit systems for promising technologies, such as CCS, which promote greater collaboration between CCS investors and vehicle manufacturers, and could be counted under the ETS. See more from our industry association, Fuels Europe.
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