Whitegate oil refinery operator records loss of $15.4m due to higher costs

Revenues at Irving Oil Whitegate Holdings Ltd topped $2bn last year

The Irving Oil Whitegate Refinery, Co. Cork. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

The Irving Oil Whitegate Refinery, Co. Cork. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision


Departing executives at the company that operates the Whitegate oil refinery in Cork harbour last year shared a pay-off of $2.04 million (€1.84 million).

The “termination benefits” for directors at Canadian-owned Irving Oil Whitegate Holdings Ltd contributed to higher costs at the company resulting in the business recording a pre-tax loss of $15.4 million.

The refinery, in place since 1959, supplies 40 per cent of the country’s petroleum needs - and the loss followed a pre-tax profit of $14.3 million in 2017. Revenues increased  by 30% from $1.55 billion to $2 billion.

Total pay - including the termination benefits - for key management personnel last year totalled $3.7 million.

The directors’ report states that the board of directors was changed as part of the integration of the group into the Irving Oil family of companies.

Irving Oil purchased the Whitegate refinery in 2016.

The losses arose from the company’s oil purchases of $1.93 billion accounting for 95.5 per cent per cent of sales compared to 2017 purchases of $1.43 billion, which accounted for 92.5 per cent of sales.

Higher costs

The company recorded an operating loss of $6.36 million and foreign exchange losses of $2.46 million, along with non-cash depreciation costs of $5.5 million and other losses of $1 million.

According to the directors’ report “despite an integrated supply chain and a robust support system that spans the Atlantic Basin, the 2018 market environment was challenging with crack spreads and margins decreasing versus 2017”.

The company this year purchased the Tedcastle group of companies operating under the Top Oil brand, as Irving Oil extended its footprint here.

Numbers employed by the company last year increased from 169 to 183 made up of 108 refinery technicians and 75 in sales and administration. Staff costs increased sharply from $26 million to $31.64 million during the period. Shareholder funds at the end of last year totalled $80 million.