2018 was marked by the scheduled shutdowns completed at two of our main production centers: the Sines complex (Portugal) and the propylene oxide/styrene plant in Tarragona (Spain). Lower activity led to a decrease in sales to third parties (2.6 million tons, 8.6% less). In the balance for the year, we can highlight an increase in sales outside the European market (473,000 tons, up by 7%).
During these shutdowns, investments were made to improve efficiency, reliability, safety, and environmental friendliness. As a result of these investments, the Tarragona facility obtained the first certification in food safety (FSSC 22000) granted to a polyolefin production plant anywhere in the world.
In 2018, we continued to implement the product differentiation strategy. One of the most noteworthy initiatives was the first production of high-impact polypropylene copolymers (TPOs), Repsol ImpactO ®, designed to meet the most stringent requirements of the automotive market.
At the same time, aware of the need to promote sustainable development, the Chemicals business is strongly committed to the circular economy of plastics. This commitment is materialized through projects such as Recliclex, Zero, Bio, or Zero Pellets.
We have also signed the Voluntary Pledge with the European Commission to increase the number of recycled plastics in the European market by 2025.