the strength of the integrated model
Our high quality assets, key in the high performance of the business
In 2016, our industrial and commercial businesses continued to lead the European market in terms of margins. There were three keys: the high quality of the assets, operational improvements, and the management of commercial opportunities.
The Refining margin in Spain grew sharply in the fourth quarter to 7.2 dollars/barrel, nearly the same as at 2015 year-end. Sales from oil products grew again in 2016, reaching 48 million metric tons.
In October, the low-sulfur diesel production unit was inaugurated at the La Pampilla Refinery in Peru, increasing its refining capacity by 15%.
Our Chemicals business continued its upward trend in 2016. Sales grew to 2.9 million metric tons, a 2.5% increase, as a result of the positive market situation and the high reliability of the plants in a year where production values reached record highs in several units. The good performance of this business was recognized by the prestigious magazine Petroleum Economist, which named Repsol the best petrochemical company of the year, and by European Plastics Converters (EuPC), which awarded us the prize for innovation in polymers based on a customer survey.
In commercial businesses, the sound management of marketing margins and the recovery of the demand for fuels were key in obtaining higher results. Our partnership policy with leading companies such as El Corte Inglés, Nespresso, Disney, and, this year, Correos is evident at our service stations.
Furthermore, more than 50% of our Lubricants, Asphalts, and Specialized Products sales were made on the international market. Our products are distributed in more than 90 countries, including new markets such as India, Turkey, the Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon.