The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a loan of EUR 150 million to Neste Oil Corporation for the upgrading of the Porvoo refinery, located 35 km east of Helsinki. The project includes the construction of a new residue hydrocracker, a hydrogen production plant and a sulphur recovery plant.

The upgrading will improve the refinery's long-term competitiveness, by increasing its sulphur-free diesel production by approximately 25% and by allowing increased processing of heavier Russian crude oil. This project will also contribute to an efficient use of natural resources when heavier crude is converted to clean traffic fuels.

The EIB's involvement will enable Neste Oil to diversify its borrowings on the keenest interest rate and maturity terms.

Promoting a more rational use of energy is part of the EIB's lending priorities in support of the environmental policy of the European Union. The EIB has set itself the goal of devoting between 30% and 35% of all its individual loans in the enlarged Union to projects safeguarding and enhancing the environment. In 2005, the EIB invested a total of EUR 10.9 billion in environmental projects, representing 33% of the EIB's total lending.

The European Investment Bank, the European Union's long-term lending institution, finances capital investment furthering EU integration, in particular: regional development, research, development and innovation, trans-European transport, telecom and energy networks; industrial competitiveness; SMEs, and environmental protection. It also operates outside the EU within the framework of the EU's policy for co-operation and development. Owned by its Member States, the EIB raises its funds on the capital markets (AAA-rated issuer). In 2004, it borrowed EUR 50bn and lent a total of EUR 43bn, of which EUR 40bn in the EU-25.