Jorge Lanza, the CEO of Exolum, has set out some of the company’s plans as it evolves to become a leader in the development of new energy vectors, as part of the company’s 2020 results announcement.
Under its new sustainability strategy, Exolum, formerly called CLH Group, plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% by 2025, and become a zero-emissions company by 2050. It has signed the UN Global Compact, which has committed it to doing so in compliance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The company is working to reduce energy consumption, and has initiatives in place to ensure it uses renewable energy, including building its own solar parks.
Exolum will continue in its traditional business of hydrocarbon transport and storage, but will diversify into other, more sustainable products for which it can use its extensive experience in product handling. One major sector it plans to expand into is hydrogen, which it believes will play a ‘decisive role’ in the energy mix in future. It has submitted a portfolio of renewable hydrogen projects to the call for expressions of interest launched by Spain’s Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge and the Ministry of Industry, with investment of more than €500 million. One of the projects will develop hydrogen corridors covering the whole of the Iberian peninsula to allow for uniform distribution of hydrogen and easy access.
Exolum will also look at the concept of the circular economy and develop water and waste treatment projects. This includes building a waste recycling plant in the port of Algeciras in Spain to turn wastewater into fuel for ships.
The company plans to develop low-carbon liquid fuels in collaboration with other companies in the sector, to help launch them into mainstream markets. The company has infrastructure in Spain adapted to biofuel storage and works with the oil sector to develop and promote second generation biofuels. It also promotes sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Exolum is also participating in two plastic recycling projects which produce liquid fuels.
Exolum’s 2020 profits dropped by 41.2% compared to 2019, to €167.7 million. Operating income fell 16.6% to €635.3 million. EBITDA fell to €337.5 million, a 26.6% drop compared to 2019, which the company blamed on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the logistics network.
Investments rose by 23.1% to €101.3 million. In Spain, it invested €54.2 million, of which 67.6% went to maintenance and business growth investments, 18.9% to the renewal, expansion and modernisation of equipment, and 13.5% to environmental and safety projects. In the UK, €37.6 million went on modernisation of the logistics network, while in Ireland, €2.6 million was spent on the expansion of its Dublin Airport fuel storage facility.
COVID-19 also affected product deliveries, which were down by 24.3% compared to 2019, with a particular fall in aviation fuel, which dropped by 62.8%. Deliveries of gasoline and diesel oil decreased by 15%, and fuel oils and IFOs by 47.2%. There has been some improvement so far in 2021, but automotive product deliveries are still down by 9% compared to pre-pandemic levels, and aviation products by 75%.
‘This year, marked by the pandemic, the company has adapted quickly and with dynamism to the current scenario maintaining its services and continuing to meet customer expectations: a quality service, and safety as a priority, with the purpose of adapting to their needs and guaranteeing fuel supply nationally,’ says Exolum in a statement.