REFINERY NEWS ROUNDUP: Mixed picture at European refiners

  • Jul 14, 2020
  • Investing

Some European refiners are gradually coming back online as demand picks up, but others continue to operate at reduced throughput or postpone turnarounds, even as coronavirus lockdowns are being widely eased.

Meanwhile, Shell has initiated the sale of its Fredericia refinery in Denmark as part of the sales process of A/S Dansk Shell, after suspending the sale in 2018.

–Gunvor Group said June 23 that it has commenced the process of assessing whether to mothball its Antwerp site, “given the uncertainties that the refinery will be again an economically viable operation in the near future.” “A confluence of geopolitical and macroeconomic events exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic has put the refinery in a very difficult economic situation,” the company said, adding that the crude processing units have already been stopped since the end of May “due to a lack of oil product demand, and there is no scenario in which the refinery does not continue to carry significant losses into the near future”.

–Gunvor’s Rotterdam refinery, which postponed maintenance previously due to COVID-19, is in maintenance until October.

–In Spain, Repsol suspended all production at the Tarragona refinery for around 20 days until mid-July. The halt is due to an excess of jet fuel stocks at the site after air travel in Spain has been drastically reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic measures.

–Italy’s Livorno refinery is operating at around 60% of capacity, up from a previous 50%-60% level, as lubricant production holds up well even though crude refining has noticeably diminished as its diesel and gasoline refining activities are operating at reduced levels due to huge stockpiling. The two lubricant production lines are operating normally. The refinery will halt all upgrades, as well as investments on new plants and all maintenance works, barring those carried on malfunctioning units until the end of the year. Meanwhile, Livorno, whose outsourced workers contracts’ for maintenance and upgrade works at the plant were due to expire on July 15, has extended the employment agreements and will not for the time being hold new tender bids, according to a source close to the refinery.

–Eni’s other refineries in Italy — Sannazzaro and Taranto — are running at around 60% of capacity.

–Italy’s ISAB postponed its spring maintenance to the autumn.

–Finland’s Neste deferred planned maintenance. Norway’s Mongstad, has decided to postpone maintenance work originally scheduled to take place in May. Germany’s Heide Raffinerie has postponed planned maintenance for six months due to the coronavirus. Two planned maintenances at Spain’s Castellon have been pushed back, with no fixed date for their execution.

–Output at the FCC units at Spain’s Puertollano and Bilbao was reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

–Austria’s OMV said it expected the utilization rate at its European refineries — Schwechat in Austria, Burghausen in Germany and Petrobrazi in Romania — to be around 80% this year. The company’s previous expectations were for a 95% utilization rate in 2020, from 97% in 2019.

–Romania’s Petromidia is running at reduced rates due to lower product demand, market sources said. It was expecting to increase run rates to around 70%-75% in June from 60% in May. The refinery completed its turnaround between March 13 and April 28.

–Dutch Hes International (former Hestya Energy) said June 4 it has restarted the low sulfur fuel oil unit at the mothballed Wilhelmshaven refinery.

–Italy’s Milazzo, which has postponed a turnaround originally planned for autumn to early 2021, has in early July restarted its FCC unit, which was placed offline. The restart had originally been planned for June, but had been delayed due to continued weak demand for refined products. The FCC was shut in April amid slumping demand for gasoline due to the coronavirus crisis. At the time, a third of the refinery’s units were affected by the temporary output-reduction measures. The Milazzo refinery had only just returned the FCC unit to full operations in April after a technical issue had temporarily caused it to go offline. The FCC was also offline in October for maintenance and upgrade work, and was later restarted around mid-January. After this, it suffered mechanical issues with a compressor inside its catalyzer, and as a result the FCC was placed into maintenance again to resolve the issue. Separately, Milazzo will carry out its planned maintenance and upgrade works on its turboexpander plant in the autumn.

–France’s Feyzin refinery has resumed maintenance and is likely to restart in July.

–France’s Gonfreville is working at around 50% capacity after its crude distillation unit was damaged, traders said. Works to repair the CDU, which were suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, have resumed.

–API’s refinery in the Italian coastal town of Falconara Marittima is operational after restarting. It is scheduled to carry out maintenance and upgrade works on its TK205 crude storage units through the end of July.

–Saras, which owns Italy’s Sarroch refinery, which has been running at around 70% of its capacity since March and had only two of its three CDUs operational, has restarted its T1 topping plant and is currently in the process of restarting its FCC unit.

–Portugal’s Galp has restarted production at its Sines refinery in mid-June after halting it on May 4. The Porto refinery is currently operating its base oils and aromatics plants, but the fuel plant is halted due to lack of market demand, the company said July 2. Fuel production was halted in April due to an abundance of stocks amid reduced demand. In Q2, Galp processed 13.4 million boe at its refineries, down 49% year on year and down 50% quarter on quarter as COVID-19 restrictions crushed downstream domestic demand leading the company to curtail production at both its refineries during the period as a result of high inventory levels. The refining margin, as a result, declined 33% year on year but was up 7% from a weak first quarter at $2.00/b.

–Pernis in the Netherlands has restarted after bringing its maintenance forward to mid-April.

–Zeeland in Flushing in the Netherlands is undergoing planned maintenance.

–Turkey’s Izmir refinery in Aliaga has restarted production following a shutdown that lasted nearly two months after demand for oil products was hit by COVID-19, owner Tupras said early July. Tupras said production units at the Izmir refinery, which accounts for 40% of the company’s crude processing capacity, will be restarted gradually in accordance with a “in accordance with the previously announced program”.

–Turkey’s Kirikkale refinery near Ankara is running at reduced rates, according to trading sources. Azerbaijan’s Socar said June 30 it was continuing production at its 212,000 b/d STAR refinery at normal levels, substituting increased production of diesel for jet, and will review the situation again in July.

–Turkish diesel demand in June was up 8.2% on the year at 1.601 billion liters, following the lifting of restrictions imposed to combat the spread of the coronavirus, energy ministry data showed. The rise was markedly lower than the 18.2% reported over the first 13 days of June, a spike attributed to the lifting of travel restrictions and the sudden need for vehicles to refill tanks after the country’s two-month lockdown. However, it was markedly higher than the 2.1% rise in sales over the first four days of July, when total diesel sales were reported at 278,200 liters.

In other news, France’s Grandpuits refinery could be closed as a refinery and converted into a plant for the production of bio plastics due to potentially costly repairs on the Ile-de-France pipeline (PLIF) bringing crude to the plant, according to local media reports. Total is currently carrying out an audit of the pipeline and the “longer term future of Grandpuits” depends upon “the viability of the pipeline”, the company said July 6, adding that it is “not prepared to work with units which have deficiencies.” The refinery was offline between March and June this year, partly due to low demand during the coronavirus pandemic, but last year remained offline between late February and July after the pipeline which brings crude from Le Havre leaked. According to a CGT source, next time the pipeline leaks the refinery will be closed indefinitely. The pipeline currently operates at 70% capacity, Total said, adding that it is “looking at how much it would cost to replace the PLIF.” The reduced capacity means the refinery processes less crude, the report said. Meanwhile, the report also noted that the cost of replacing the pipeline would be further exacerbated by a grand scale maintenance at the plant planned for March 2021.

Near term maintenance

New and revised entries

–Algerian Sonatrach’s Augusta plant on the Italian island of Siciliy will carry out works on its reformer in July for about 13 days, during which a planned substitution of the unit’s catalyzers will be carried out, a source close to the refinery said. The Augusta refinery is currently running at 70-80% of capacity as the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis in Italy and the subsequent government lockdown aimed at curbing its spread negatively affects demand for oil products.

–The Milazzo refinery located on the Italian island of Sicily has in the past few days restarted its FCC unit, which was placed offline amid slumping demand caused by a two-month coronavirus lockdown, a source close to the refinery told S&P Global Platts on July 8. The restart had originally been planned for June, but had been delayed due to continued weak demand for refined products.

Existing entries

–Two planned maintenances at the Castellon refinery is eastern Spain have been pushed back, with no fixed date for when they will now go ahead. The first was previously scheduled for May and to last two to three weeks, affecting two distillation units, the powerformer 1 and the HVN. The company said that this had not been carried out and has not been assigned a new date. A second maintenance, initially due for November for two to three weeks, affecting one conversion unit (treatment plant) and the 1.4 milliont mt/year coker, has been pushed back into 2021, the company said, without specifying exactly when. BP previously said that the refinery has been running normally, with its with output adjusted to the weaker demand.

–Italy’s Sarroch refinery has restarted its T1 topping plant and is currently in the process of restarting its FCC unit, a source close to the refinery told S&P Global Platts on July 2. The refinery has been carrying out a series of maintenance and upgrade works on units at the plant including the FCC plant and the topping T1 unit, which has been completed. It has also been carrying out work on its MHC2 unit, its visbreaking plant, and its U400 and U500 units in recent months, though it is not clear if this work has been finalised. In May, the Sarroch plant in Sardinia was only operating two of its three distillation plants, its power production was down to about two-thirds of total capacity, and gasoline production levels low amid slumping general demand for refined products demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. The current series of maintenance and upgrade works is scheduled to be fully completed in the second half of the year during which time the plant will be positioned to reach full capacity if required.

–Russian energy group Lukoil’s ISAB refinery in Sicily will carry out wide-scale maintenance and upgrades originally planned for March-April in the autumn, according to a source close to the refinery. The plant is currently online though carrying out works on its desulfurization plants that are tied to its topping unit. ISAB is the latest in a series of refineries to have postponed or canceled maintenance plans due to the coronavirus crisis in Italy and the subsequent reduced demand for refined products.

–Gunvor said June 23 that it’s Rotterdam refinery is currently undergoing a turnaround due to be completed in October. The company said at the end of March that it was delaying the turnaround due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gunvor halted CDU1 in November for economic reasons and also to prepare for the upcoming turnaround in March, it said previously. The refinery has CDU units of 38,000 b/d and 50,000 b/d capacity.

–Turkish refiner Tupras said it had postponed most of the maintenance work scheduled for later this year. The only planned maintenance work for this year is now a six-week shutdown of the U400 FCC unit at Izmir in the fourth quarter.

–Repsol has reduced operations at some refineries as a result of the pandemic and its impact on demand. It said its FCCs at Bilbao and Puertollano were running at reduced rates, with other units also affected by the industrial slowdown. The company also took its crude 2 unit offline at Bilbao on May 9 due to market reasons, with the unit staying offline until conditions improve.

–France’s Feyzin refinery has resumed its maintenance and is likely to restart in July, according to trading sources. Planned maintenance at Feyzin was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. The petrochemical part of the plant was operating normally. Work started on February 14 and was due to last around seven weeks.

–France’s Gonfreville is currently working at around 50% capacity after its CDU was damaged. Works to repair the crude distillation unit at the Gonfreville refinery which have been suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak have now resumed, according to market sources. Total said earlier the CDU, which was damaged in December following a fire at a pump feeding crude oil, will restart before the end of the year.

–The Zeeland refinery in Flushing, the Netherlands, which is undergoing full maintenance, is expected back in late June, according to trading sources. The refinery started large scale planned maintenance in the middle of May, it said on its website. The maintenance will be used for the upgrade of the hydrocracker to be completed, the company has previously said.

–Greek refiner Hellenic said its Aspropyrgos refinery will have full turnaround in Q3.

–Planned general maintenance and an upgrade at Germany’s Leuna refinery this autumn has been postponed “due to the ongoing pandemic and the resulting restrictions on travel and transport of goods, as well as the impact on international supply chains”, the company said. The maintenance had been planned to take placed over six weeks, regional newspaper Mitteldeutsche Zeitung reported. Total said in 2019 it would invest Eur150 million ($166 million) to reduce production of heavy products as demand decreases, and increase production of methanol, a key feedstock for the chemical industry. Work was due to continue until 2021, with the bulk carried out during a major shutdown of the refinery in 2020.

–Some scheduled maintenance at Austria’s Schwechat and Romania’s Petrobrazi will be postponed to June and Q3, with the Petrobrazi maintenance set to take place at the end of July, OMV said.

–Eni’s Sannazzaro de Burgondi refinery in northern Italy started another cycle of maintenance and upgrade works, even as a decision on when to reactivate its Eni slurry technology (EST) unit, which has been offline since a 2016 fire, is still outstanding and not expected to be taken before demand for refined products picks up, according to a source close to the refinery. “The planned maintenance activity is ongoing according to the scheduled programs, and will be completed by the end of May,” a spokeswoman for Eni said. No information was provided on which plants were involved in the maintenance and upgrade works, nor when the EST plant would be restarted. The works being carried out are not the series of works planned for the EST unit that had previously been suspended, the source said. The refinery underwent maintenance in early March involving “units internal to the refinery,” an Eni spokesperson said at the time. The work has been completed, the source said.

–Norway’s Mongstad postponed works initially planned on its crude unit May 13 to June 2, the company said.

–The Canary Islands’ only refinery on Tenerife will be permanently closed in the long term. There has been no production since 2014. Cepsa will install some logistics and storage facilities at the site, amid a wider regeneration project.


Existing entries

–Italy’s Milazzo will carry out wide-scale maintenance and upgrade works on its diesel plants in the second quarter of 2021. Around half of the refinery’s plants will be involved in the maintenance works. The works were originally planned for the autumn of this year but were recently postponed to next year after the COVID-19 crisis and the subsequent drop in demand for refined products led Milazzo to cancel all but necessary maintenance and investment works this year.

–Lukoil’s Neftochim refinery in Burgas, Bulgaria, will be carrying out major works in 2021, including atmospheric vacuum unit 1, atmospheric vacuum units 2, atmospheric vacuum distillation 2, FCC, hydrotreatment, hydrocracker, according to company tender documents. The refinery typically carries out works around February-March.

–Tupras said it had postponed most of the maintenance work scheduled for later this year. Planned fourth-quarter closures at Izmir of the U9200 CCR unit (7 weeks), U9600 Isomerization unit (8 weeks) and U9900 MOD unit (7 weeks) and at Izmit of the Plt Desulphurization Unit (4 weeks) have all been postponed to unspecified dates in 2021 the company said.

–Italy’s Livorno will avoid all non-essential maintenance and investment as part of a plan to reduce coronavirus-related risks. As part of the decision, the refinery will postpone a planned extraordinary maintenance cycle scheduled for October to 2021, though it is not clear whether this will take place in the first few months of the year or in April-May. The October maintenance was originally scheduled to last about one and a half months and would have involved most of the refinery’s main units as well as its storage plants.

–With its 2020 maintenance, Romania’s Petromidia and the petrochemical division “will align with the new operating strategy, with a general turnaround scheduled for 4 years and technological shutdowns scheduled for 2 years,” the company said.

–Germany’s Heide Raffinerie has been postponed planned maintenance for six months due to the coronavirus outbreak, it said in April. The planned turnaround would have taken a quarter of its capacity offline.

–Finland’s Neste said in its Q1 report that its Porvoo refinery’s major turnaround in 2020 is now postponed to 2021 and would be carried in phases. The company had planned works for the second quarter of this year, but had to postpone them due to the coronavirus pandemic.

–The next large-scale maintenance at France’s Grandpuits will be in 2021. The works will include cleaning and repair of units, as well as works to improve performance. Works are planned to take place in Q1, 2021, Total said.

–Germany’s Mineraloelraffinerie Oberrhein (Miro) will carry out a major turnaround in 2021. It will invest Eur300 million ($333 million), with two-thirds going on new projects and a third for upgrading the existing plants during the turnaround.

–Two months of maintenance at the Sarpom refinery in Trecate, Italy, originally scheduled for October 2019 have been pushed back to 2021. Details on which units at the refinery will be upgraded as part of the maintenance — of the kind needed every 3-4 years — had yet to emerge.

–The Holborn refinery near Hamburg, northern Germany, plans its next turnaround in 2023. Its previous maintenance was in the autumn of 2018. The refinery carries out major works every five years.

–The next major maintenance at Poland’s Gdansk is planned for spring 2021.

–Repsol’s refinery at Puertollano in central Spain will carry out an upgrade of its olefins unit as part of planned maintenance of the cracker and chemical derivative plants at the end of 2020.

–The next major turnaround at Preem’s Gothenburg refinery in Sweden will be in 2021.

–Romania’s Petrobrazi will undergo its next big turnaround in 2022.


New and revised entries

–PKN Orlen laid the foundation stone July 6 to mark the start of a Zloty 1 billion ($254 million) investment to build a visbreaking unit at its Plock refinery. The unit, which will increase gasoline and diesel yield at the refinery, is being built by a consortium of KTI Poland and IDS-BEU under a turnkey contract. It will be completed by the end of 2022. The company has said previously the visbreaker will allow the refinery to reduce fuel oil output and increase its production of distillates. The unit will have a capacity to produce 200,000 mt/year of diesel. Ongoing modernization of the hydrocracking and diesel hydrodesulfurisation units at Plock will also increase the refinery’s diesel production capacity. PKN Orlen, said it has purchased a license and basic design for the modernization of a hydrodesulfurisation (HOG) unit to increase the production of high-margin products at its Plock refinery. PKN signed a contract to buy the license from Axens. The HOG unit at Plock was launched in 1999. The modernization will allow the unit to produce more diesel and gasoline.

Existing entries

–Spanish integrated energy company Repsol said June 15 it will build a 10-MW, green-hydrogen plant which it will use to produce synthetic fuels in collaboration with Saudi Aramco at its Bilbao refinery. The plant is part of an Eur80-million decarbonization project that will also include a carbon-capture project and a fuel-from-waste plant, and should be completed by 2024.

–An upgrade of Preem’s Lysekil refinery near Brofjorden, Sweden, which has been cleared by the highest environmental court in Sweden, is now awaiting government approval, the company said June 18. The upgrade, which is part of the refinery’s drive to ensure climate neutrality by 2040, was awaiting decisions by the land and environment court of appeal as well as the government. The plan includes a phase-out of fossil fuel and production of 5 million m3 of renewable gasoline, diesel and jet fuel by 2030. The refinery is not planning to increase the processing of crude oil but to reduce the fuel oil output. Around 20% of the refinery’s current output is HSFO, demand for which had diminished following the IMO 2020 sulfur cap on marine fuel. Preem is aiming to build a slurry hydrocracking plant that can convert fuel oil into sulfur-free gasoline and diesel. It can also be used to make renewable fuels but need environmental clearance.

–Five 2 MW PEM electrolysers have been installed and testing begun at Shell’s Rheinland refinery in Germany, but delays to the Refhyne project are now anticipated due to coronavirus restrictions, UK hydrogen company ITM said in a trading update June 8. Germany’s Rhineland has started the construction of a new hydrogen production plant, using electrolysis, at its Wesseling site. The investment project, due for completion in 2020, will generate hydrogen from electricity rather than natural gas. The refinery consists of the Wesseling (south) and Godorf (north) sites. Separately, the refinery has received permission to start construction of a new power plant at Godorf. The new plant is scheduled to go on stream in 2021. As part of the modernization, Shell is converting the power plant from oil to gas.

–Poland’s second largest refiner Grupa Lotos is looking at developing a hydrocracker unit for the production of base oils.

–Planned general maintenance and an upgrade at Germany’s Leuna refinery this autumn has been postponed “due to the ongoing pandemic and the resulting restrictions on travel and transport of goods, as well as the impact on international supply chains”, the company said. Work was also due to continue in 2021 and by the end of next year the project would be completed. Total said in 2019 that it would invest Eur150 million ($166.5 million) over 2020-2021 to reduce production of heavy products as demand decreases, and increase production of methanol, an important feedstock for the chemical industry.

–Valero said the cogen project at Pembroke, UK, has been slowed down, “pushing out” the mechanical completion by 6-9 months.

–Germany’s Heide refinery is looking to cut its carbon dioxide production for its industrial operations using grey hydrogen for refined products desulfurization, and from early 2019 green hydrogen has been added to the mix for feedstock purposes. “The goal is to have a 700 MW of electrolysis capacity installed by 2030, this would be enough to abate 1 million mt of CO2 per year by producing 100,000 mt of hydrogen … and this is only at our facility,” said Wollschlaeger. To achieve its ambitions, Heide is part of the “Westkuste 100” consortium that includes EDF, Orsted, Stadtwerke Heide, Thuga and thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, which have teamed up to advance the use of green hydrogen for industrial purposes. The consortium submitted a proposal in early 2019 to the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy to seek funds for the project. The outcome is expected to be known by the middle to end of 2020.

–Romania’s Petromidia is planning to build a diesel dewaxing unit “which will allow the refinery to significantly improve the process of obtaining diesel fuels in the wintertime,” the company said in a statement. Dewaxing units are used for the production of winter grade diesel. The integration of the new dewaxing unit will also “allow an increase in the production of aviation jet fuel,” it said. The project has estimated completion in September 2022. Separately, a second project is aimed at the increase by more than 30% of the production of polymers in the petrochemical division of Petromidia, which is “the sole producer in Romania in this field”.

–Poland’s largest refiner PKN Orlen said it has completed the main part of its polyethylene 3 (PE3) investment at the Litvinov refinery in the Czech Republic. Unipetrol will build a pyrolytic unit for waste-plastic processing at its plant in Litvinov. Separately, McDermott International has been awarded a contract for engineering, procurement and construction management services for the upgrade of the hydrocracker at Czech Litvinov refinery. The completion is expected for Q2 2020.

–A new diesel hydrodesulfurization unit at France’s Donges was expected to come online in 2023, Total said. Construction of the HDT-VGO units, which had been awarded to Kinetics Technology, will go ahead alongside a rail bypass which was the main requirement for the refinery’s upgrade to proceed. Kinetics Technology said it had been awarded the contract for building the 40,000 b/d hydrotreater. The French government, local authorities, railway operator SNCF and Total signed a memorandum of intent in 2016 to build the railroad track bypassing the Donges refinery. Total said previously that, following the bypass agreement, it would proceed with the planned upgrade. The bypass will be ready in 2022.

–Greece’s Motor Oil Hellas said that in 2020 it expected high capital expenditure “as the project of the new naphtha treatment complex [total budget Eur310 million] has already entered the construction phase.” MOH said in 2019 that the new complex, which will contribute to increased production of gasoline, kerosene and hydrogen, is scheduled for completion in 2021. In January, the company awarded an EPC contract to TechnipFMC for the construction of a new naphtha treatment complex at its Corinth refinery, according to a TechnipFMC statement. The 22,000 b/d complex comprises a naphtha hydrotreater, a platformer and an isomerization unit, the statement said.

–Turkish refiner Tupras’ upgrade plans for its four refineries include a number of new units as well as works for modernizing existing ones. The company has opened an EPC tender valued at around $400 million for the construction of new sulfur units at its three main refineries, Izmit, Izmir and Kirikkale. Tupras has also signed a $66 million tender for the revamp of the FCC unit at Izmit, which will include the installation of flue gas treatment and energy back recovery systems. Installation work is set to start this year and complete in 2021. Work had already started on a $3.9 million modernization of the PLT-7 LPG Merox unit at Izmir designed to reduce sulfur content from 50 ppm to 30 ppm, to meet new emissions standards. Further upgrades planned at Izmir include a $25 million project to increase the capacity of the CCR U-9200 Platformer Unit from 160 cu m/hour to 225 cu m/hour, as well as a $69 million project to revamp the FCC unit and install flue gas treatment and energy recovery systems.

–Croatia’s INA has selected Axens Futurol ethanol technology for the “basic engineering design” of an advanced bioethanol production plant at Sisak. Hungary MOL’s Croatian affiliate INA made a final investment decision to carry out a residue upgrade project at the Rijeka refinery. The project includes building a delayed coker. MOL said the Sisak refinery will be converted into a bitumen production site and logistics hub. The facility may also produce lubricants and bio-fuel components too, subject to further investment decisions.

–Germany’s Burghausen refinery is planning to commission a new ISO C4 system for the production of high purity isobutane in September.

–Serbia’s Pancevo will upgrade the catalytic cracker, Gazprom Neft said. NIS, a subsidiary of Gazprom Neft, has signed a contract for developing the project with Lummus Technology, part of McDermott Group. The completion is earmarked for 2024. It is part of the refinery’s modernization, ongoing since 2009. Within the same project a unit will be built for the production of high octane gasoline components. The deep processing complex, part of the second modernization phase, also under Lummus project, is in the final stages of construction. The launch of the complex, which includes a delayed coker and will increase the depth of processing to 99.2% and increase gasoline and diesel output, will help the refinery halt fuel oil output.

–Gunvor is studying the potential installation of an HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) at the Rotterdam refinery.

–Bosnia’s Brod refinery will start production from the middle of 2020 by which time its reconstruction will be completed. The refinery is being reconstructed. A pipeline, being built to supply it with natural gas to fuel its internal processes, is expected to be ready from Q3 2020. The refinery suspended its operations in 2019 for an upgrade and to prepare for the use of natural gas. The gas will replace fuel oil as a power source for the refinery processes.

–Varo Energy’s Cressier refinery in Switzerland is installing a new column at the crude distillation unit which will allow it to reduce CO2 emissions but also to expand the scope of its light products yield. The column will start operations in the second quarter of 2020.

–Upgrade work to increase San Roque’s refining margin, and construct a new hydrocracker, has been halted by local government, Cepsa said. The San Roque Council ordered earthworks at the site to be halted, affecting Cepsa’s work on its “Bottom of the Barrel” project. The upgrades are targeted for completion by 2022. Separately, Cepsa will revamp Isomax, fluid catalytic cracker, alkylation units at San Roque and will construct a methylene unit (Sorbex II).

–Germany’s Schwedt is upgrading its aromatics complex.

–The Netherlands’ Zeeland refinery has had the third reactor for the hydrocracker’s expansion delivered. The refinery started work mid-2018 on an expansion of the hydrocracker, by working to add the third reactor. The reactor will be connected to the existing installation in 2020.

–ExxonMobil said it has “made a final investment decision to expand” the Fawley refinery in the UK to increase production of ULSD by 45%, or 38,000 b/d. The more than $1 billion investment includes a hydrotreater to remove sulfur from diesel, supported by a hydrogen plant. Start-up was expected in 2021.

–Russian Lukoil plans to invest in its ISAB refinery in southern Italy and has also dropped plans announced in 2017 to sell the plant having not received suitable offers. Lukoil will invest $60 million in upgrades, including two hydrodesulfurization units.

–Cepsa said it will carry out upgrades to its aromax and hydrocracker units at Huelva. It is also carrying out an aromatics optimization project at the refinery.

–Israel’s Haifa District Court has rejected an appeal by Haifa municipality along with six other neighboring communities and environmental groups against the proposed expansion of the Bazan refinery.

–Total’s Feyzin is considering mothballing a visbreaker unit around 2021 as demand for heavy fuel is gradually declining and the unit works on average no more than three days a month. As a result of the mothballing seven people would lose their jobs, but would be offered other jobs within the organization, the company said.


Existing entries

–Preliminary work on Estonia’s new refinery has started, with an agreement signed between Eesti Energia and Viry Keemia Group with Italian company KT Kinetics Technology. The preliminary project is due to be completed in the summer of 2020, “after which the main project will be decided,” according to Eesti Energia. The refinery will process 1.6 million mt/year shale oil and produce 1.5 million mt/year products. It is aimed to be completed in 2024 and produce naphtha, gasoil and ULSFO.

–Turkey’s Ersan Petrol plans to start construction of its 1.4 million mt/year Nazli refinery at Kahramanmaras in southeast Turkey in mid-2020, with the plant expected to begin operations in less than four years, company owner Ecvet Sayer said.

–Azerbaijani state oil company Socar is considering the development of a second refinery in Turkey, in addition to its existing 214,000 b/d Star refinery at Aliaga on Turkey’s central Aegean coast.

Source: Platts