02 March 2015

Neste Oil leads the way in oil refining


“We are not a traditional oil company, but rather a company driven by technology and innovation,” says Petri Lehmus, Vice President of Research and Technology at Neste Oil. This approach has produced world-class inventions, such as the best method for manufacturing renewable diesel.

Innovations have changed Neste Oil. This has also required bold decisions and risk-taking. “We do not have any raw material production of our own. This has forced us to invest in quality and innovations”, summarizes Petri Lehmus, Vice President of Research and Technology at Neste Oil.

The strategy of top quality was already fully adopted decades ago. The results are compelling. Lehmus says that the strategy first started with two dimensions. The main objectives were high quality and efficiency. During the past few years, a third dimension has been added: renewable raw materials and a new range of products that have been enabled by them. This has made Neste Oil a new kind of company, and an even more prominent pioneer in the field.

Quality and innovations are imperative

Many oil companies receive their income from the production of crude oil and from refining operations that focus on large volumes. Improving the quality of fuels is not always at the core of the operations. Neste Oil does not compete in size or volumes; its strengths lie in technology and product expertise.

At first, the objective was to develop the best products possible – and to produce them as efficiently as possible. One of the strengths of Neste Oil is the ability to produce top quality, even from more affordable and lower-quality raw materials.

Neste Oil has been a pioneer, for instance, in sulfur-free and unleaded fuels, decreasing exhaust emissions and, overall, the high quality of fuels.

The third dimension – renewable fuels

In the 1990s, Neste Oil's research found a new way to produce renewable fuels. This HVO method was so efficient that the quality of renewable diesel could be raised to even exceed that of fossil diesel.

At the turn of the millennium, an important trend of sustainable development started in the world of fuels. “Renewable fuels opened up a third dimension concerning new raw materials in our development,” Lehmus says. Combining environmental friendliness and top quality suited Neste Oil perfectly, and strong investments in the production of renewable fuels were commenced in the new millennium. “The work has demanded bold decisions and risk-taking,” Lehmus points out.

The company made investments in the scale of billions in large production facilities, even though the market for renewable fuels was only just opening. “The road has not always been easy, and there have been obstacles along the way. However, this work has changed the situation of the whole company. We are now developing new business based on high technology, with great potential for expansion. Neste Oil has reached the top of the field in renewable fuels.”