The responsibility we have for our business, our employees, the environment, and society motivated us to set KMG International on a course aligned with our views on sustainability. Reaching more impressive milestones along our way is definitely a rewarding bonus.
One such milestone was the 40th anniversary of Petromidia Refinery, which we celebrated in 2019, along with its best operational performance to date, more than 6 million tons of feedstock processed. What started with a Vacuum Atmospheric Distillation Unit in 1979 is now one of the largest modern refineries in Southeastern Europe and the Black Sea region.
With a 11.4 Nelson complexity index, Petromidia is the processing unit with the highest capability of crude oil Sulphur extraction in the region, exclusively producing Euro 5 fuels and aiming at Euro 6 production. Also, the refinery has a utilization rate of 90%, compared to the European average of 83%, a level reached only through constant investments and the commitment of its employees. Also in 2019, we celebrated 45 employees on the Petromidia platform who have been with us for the past 4 decades. It is because of people like them that we keep getting further.
Nevertheless, the refinery is also welcoming young professionals who will continue to develop the spirit of Petromidia. And so are all other entities in the Group, seeking for new talent to perfect through dedicated programs, such as our Internship program, currently in its 19th edition.
2019 also marked the first steps in developing the Smart Refinery concept, by implementing Advance Process Control (APC) which allows predictive control of units and operational flows, aiming to identify optimal conditions for increasing production capacity, improving product quality, reducing energy consumption and providing more effective control of key parameters.