The ‘guardian’ of gas and crude oil reserves multiplied its profit by 2,348 times in 2021

It is not for profit but in 2021 it shot up its profitability metrics and the size of the activity it carries out. The boom in energy prices also had an upward impact on its income statement. Corporation of Strategic Reserves of Petroleum Products (Cores)an agency supervised by the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Energy of Theresa Rivera, multiplied its profit by 2,348 times in 2021 due to purchases, sales and transfers of reserves with various market operators and their financial activities. Specifically, the entity went from earning 47,000 euros in 2020, the exercise of the pandemic, to 110 million euros in 2021 due to the extraordinary effect of the sale of reserves throughout the year.

net income of Cores also soared 171% year-on-yearuntil the €412.2 million, according to the annual results report presented this Thursday. Of that figure, the agency details that 147.4 million, or one 35% of the total, correspond to the “quotas invoiced to the obligated subjects”, that is, the large wholesale hydrocarbon operators, and in some cases, distributors and large consumers. The remaining two-thirds (264.8 million) of revenue is attributed to the sale of strategic reserves, yes, before the war and the current supply crisis. This extraordinary did not occur in 2020 due to the low prices of crude oil, gas and refining, but in 2021 it caused massive gains.

According to her own bio, Cores is a public law corporationnonprofit, supervised by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, with its own legal personality, whose objective is to guarantee security in the supply of petroleum products (diesel, kerosene and gasoline). To do this, this agency ensures compliance with the so-called strategic reserves. The law marked that there should be 92 equivalent days of consumption, 45% of them the responsibility of Cores and the remaining 55% by operators.

At the end of 2021, this proportion changed after a government order to 54% (Cores) and 46% (industry). For liquefied gas (LPG), this mandatory supply is reduced to 20 days of consumption and for natural gas it is also 20 days. Due to the historical dependence and dominance of Algeria in the supply of this last fossil fuel, the legislation established as a limit that 50% be imported from a single country. In the first four months of 2022, The US has occupied that position and accounts for 44% of the gas.

In the financial nude, the corporation he presides over Juana Maria Lazaro It also details the movements made with the debt through bank financing and bonds. In December 2021, for example, Cores repaid a loan of 250 million euros at maturity with the remainder in treasury for the sale of strategic reserves (205 million) and the request of two new loans for 45 million. The agency also faces next November another maturity of 350 million.

According to data from the Annual Report, the net decrease in strategic reserves occurred in 2021 is 674,121 m3 (cubic meters), of which 385,014 m3 were crude oil, 3,072 m3 of kerosene (aviation fuel), 235,560 m3 of gas oil and 58,251 m3 of fuel oil. In contrast, a net increase of 7,776 m3 in gasoline was recorded. Cores held two reservation sales contests in 2021 to relocate and store, in addition to an exchange or swap in November 2021 with Cepsa. The agency has carried out 23 operations of this type since 2013.

The official data of the end of the 2021 financial year reveal that 56.2 million tons of crude oil (Mt) were imported2.4% more than in 2020 but a 15.3% less than in 2019. The continued increase in oil prices in international markets caused this brake on demand. For their part, Spanish refineries increased their operating capacity from 69.8% to 82.2%, still below 84.6% prior to the pandemic.

Traditionally, Spain is a net importer country almost 100% of oil and gas, although for a decade it has been an exporter of refined petroleum products. Last year, the net balance of shipments to other countries decreased by 6.8% compared to 2020, although they represent an increase of 61.8% compared to 2019, assuming 5 million tons (Mt). 40% of the exported surplus was diesel, 21% gasoline and the rest of products represented another fifth (22.6%). Cores specifies that it is net balance, since 15.9 Mt of these derivatives were imported and 21.9 Mt were exported.

Pedro Sánchez talks with Joe Biden at the G-20 summit in October.

Cores draws a picture of supplies for 2021 that changed rapidly as the year progressed and has finished emerging in 2022 with the unstoppable rise of the US as the leading supplier of natural gas, through LPG shipments by ship, and third in the supply of crude oil. For posterity, Cores’ memory states that “Half of Spanish crude oil imports usually come from OPEC member countries. In 2021 these represented 49.9% of the total, compared to 49.7% in 2020 and 60.8% in 2019”. By country, the main suppliers of crude oil to Spain in 2021, “as usual”, according to the agency, were Nigeria (18.3%) and Mexico (13.6%). 2022 has also broken that status.

Secondly, natural gas imports in Spain reached 415,625 GWh, 13.8% more than in 2020 and 0.6% less than in 2019. 54.5% arrived in liquid state (LNG) through methane tankers that unloaded at the six regasification facilities on the Iberian Peninsula. The remaining 45.5% through gas pipeline, although once again the annual photo hides, for example, the effects of the closure of the gas pipeline Duran Farrell (Maghreb-Europe) from October 31. Still in 2021, Algeria was the main country of origin of the gas that reaches Spain, although in 2022 that has changed due to the three-way diplomatic crisis between Madrid, Algiers and Rabat.