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Being the captain of Cnergyico, Pakistan’s largest oil refinery company, is no simple task. Still, Amir Abbassciy has undertaken the CEO role with the utmost pride and steadfast commitment to the company’s success.
Amir is prominently upholding his family’s legacy, having co-founded the company (then known as Bosicor Pakistan and later renamed as Byco Petroleum Pakistan) with his late father, Parvez Abbasi, in 1995. It has since seen tremendous growth over the years – doubling its daily output from 18,000–36,000 barrels per day, and then further expanding it to 156,000 by adding an oil refining capacity of 120,000 barrels per day in 2015, while advancing into its own petroleum marketing network and establishing 450 retail stations to date.
Beyond that, Cnergyico has constantly been expanding its portfolio, setting up its own private offshore port for importing crude oil and exporting petroleum products, further cementing its leadership status as the only firm with dedicated port facilities in the country.
“We’ve just scratched the surface of where we want to be.”
However, Amir promises that there is much more in store for the company. “The best is yet to come,” he tells The CEO Magazine. “We’ve just scratched the surface of where we want to be. We want to be leaders, both in the fields of refining and, going forward, in petrochemicals as well as the retail footwork that we are actively investing in.”
That plan entails adding another 550 shops, bringing a grand total of 1,000 under its portfolio, and expanding the business to petrochemicals – developments that the CEO greatly anticipates.
Amir has known leadership for quite some time, taking the helm of the company in 2006 at the passing of his father. His role as CEO was intermittent until 2011 when he became full-time CEO of the company. The ambitious leader is proud of the make-up of his organisation, which he saw grow from just five employees to over 900 confirmed employees, and he considers every one of these team players to be a winning asset, given the company’s success.
“In this organisation, we obviously have a professional team. Our company is divided into four divisions: Information, which also looks after human resources and IT; then we have a Commercial division, which looks at all the crude procurements as well as product sales; we’ve got Operations for the refinery; and we have Finance, which includes treasury functions,” he explains.
Indeed, the workings of Cnergyico are truly dynamic, and its operations are split into four core segments: petroleum marketing, refining, oil trading and oil projects, which all converge to make the company a holistic, energy-integrated operation – much like its name suggests.
Now, the company’s growth is front and centre which, according to Amir, is the prime way to maintain its leadership in the industry. “We are working on a project to expand the two refineries. Right now, they’re at 156,000 barrels per day. Our aim is to take them up to 200,000 barrels per day combined,” he shares.
That will include incorporating a fluid catalytic cracker which converts the residual fuel oil or furnace oil, as it’s known in the industry, into road fuels. “So basically, from FCC there’s naphtha and then gasoline and diesel as a first phase. And then in the second phase, we will hopefully be working on converting this naphtha into petrochemicals.”
In fact, the plan for petrochemicals is a big one, both for the company and the CEO. “We will be looking at setting up our own retail shops at the pump site as the emphasis moves more towards renewables,” Amir says. “We want to be at the right place when the journey in this country starts towards that.”
However, much of the large-scale plans will rely on ensuring its IT systems are up to date, as these constitute a significant part of the company’s operations. These state-of-the-art systems helped the company remain efficient despite the setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Upon reflecting on the company, Amir is confident that it is truly unique. “There’s no other company like ours,” he asserts. “In the Pakistani environment, there are refineries and then there are petroleum marketing companies, but there’s no energy-integrated business where, in one company, there is the refinery, the infrastructure in the port, the retail footprint and the terminals.”
“We will be looking at setting up our own retail shops at the pump site as the emphasis moves more towards renewables. We want to be at the right place when the journey in this country starts towards that.”
More than that, he explains that the company continues to look at creating better synergies across refining, petroleum marketing and the infrastructure network to improve its efficiencies. “We also look at improving our margins because we get our revenues and our profits, not just from one business unit, but a host of them. So that sets us apart from what the other refiners basically do in the country,” he points out.
A look at the company’s track record and affiliates is also testimony to its powerhouse status. Cnergyico works with international oil trading firms like Vitol and Trafigura, as well as BP, Shell, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and the Qatar Green Building Council – all solid international players in the industry.
With synergy as a chief goal of the company, Amir not only foresees the growth that he has planned but also a strengthening of Cnergyico’s core values as it aims to “achieve sustainable productivity and profitability to deliver a superior shareholder return”.