Europe downstream oil month in brief: Fuel retailers react to the threat from alternative road fuels
Fuel retailers have announced a number of measures aimed at adapting their strategies to the growing penetration of alternative fuels in the market. OMV has acquired a 40% stake in the Austrian joint venture Smatrics and Total intends to expand its natural gas refuelling network, helped by the acquisition of PitPoint BV in the Netherlands. European refining margins and crack spreads strengthened in April compared to the previous month due to strong demand, refinery maintenance outside the region and the change to the summer gasoline specification. Marketing margins showed a significant decrease on a Europe average basis, reversing the gains made in March, due to the double impact of lower end-user prices and stronger wholesale product prices.