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Schwechat Refinery: 60 years old and still not even close to retirement

Reading time: 4 min

2018 marks the OMV Schwechat Refinery’s 60th anniversary. It is one of Europe’s largest and most modern inland refineries, is supplied with oil direct from Trieste via pipeline and processes up to 9.6 million tonnes of crude per year. A snapshot of a success story that is still being written half a century later.


1958 was an eventful year. Brazil won the World Cup in Sweden, the first Austrian Airlines flight took off – for us it was even more noteworthy: 1958 is also the year in which the new refinery in Schwechat was born. The cornerstone was laid on April 22, 1958, with the goal of rebuilding the refinery that had been destroyed during World War II.

Secret to success: Looking forward

Since that time the refinery has grown into one of the region’s most important employers and a key economic factor for Austria. Around half of all of Austria’s mineral oil products come from the refinery in Schwechat. This has only been possible through continuous development and by looking ahead – qualities which Schwechat has always displayed.

Wolfram Krenn Head of OMV Schwechat Refinery
The Schwechat Refinery is among Europe’s largest and most profitable inland refineries. The success story of our refinery is the result of decades of exceptional work by our dedicated employees.
Wolfram Krenn, Head of OMV Schwechat Refinery

Early entry into petrochemicals

The entry into petrochemicals was secured as early as 1969: This is when construction began on the first ethylene plant. Fast forward to now and we see that this was one of many sound strategic decisions that have made the Schwechat Refinery into one of the most competitive in Europe today. The expansion of the ethylene unit in 2005 and the cooperation with Borealis has made the site into one of Europe’s largest locations for plastics production and this is how products from the refinery are found in many of our everyday products: In road coverings, toothbrushes, computer casing or data cables. In view of the rising demand for petrochemical products, this was a prescient decision.

Following the expansion of the petrochemical business, as well as realigning production away from classic refinery products such as gasoline and diesel to kerosene, ongoing investments in environmental and safety engineering have also ensured that the Schwechat Refinery continues to have a bright future in a dynamic market environment.

A new office building to mark the anniversary

The first highlight in the anniversary year was certainly the opening of the new office building at the start of the year. The 13,000 square meter building was completed in just 14 months and now boasts space for 300 employees.

Take a look for yourself:

Highlights in the celebratory year: Family Day and InstaDrive

In order to do justice to the anniversary, it was necessary for the first celebrations this year to be held in a very tight circle: Employees with their families, friends and former colleagues were invited to a Family Day at the end of May.

Here’s a video to give you a taste: 60 years of OMV Schwechat Refinery – Family Day

And yet that wasn’t all: In honor of the milestone, the Schwechat Refinery was also the setting for the first “OMVInstaDrive” – an unique opportunity for the social media community to get a peek behind the curtains of the refinery. Paying strict attention to all of the safety and security rules, a small group was given an exclusive tour of the Schwechat site, with the ethylene plant and the old and new office buildings generating some striking images. What’s more, the evening mood gave way to fascinating displays of color in the sky over the refinery – such as those captured by “InstaDriver” demare2811 in the image that heads this blog post.

Here are further photos of the bloggers and influencers: #OMVInstaDrive.

Quo vadis, Schwechat Refinery?

After a brief moment to stop and take stock in the year 2018, the course has already been set for the future of the Schwechat Refinery: In the coming years OMV will invest up to one billion euros in the refinery network Schwechat, Burghausen and Petrobrazi in order to react to the decrease in demand for fuels and the growing demand for petrochemicals. More and higher-value petrochemicals products and aviation fuels mean an even stronger competitive position in Europe. And this in turn means that at 60 the Schwechat Refinery is still a long way off retiring.

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