New unit starts at Antwerp refinery to product high-value transport fuels

ExxonMobil has commissioned a new unit at its Antwerp refinery in Belgium to convert heavy, higher-sulphur residual oils into high-value transportation fuels such as marine gasoil and diesel.

The new 50,000 b/d unit expands the refinery’s capacity to meet demand for cleaner transportation fuels throughout north-west Europe. The company’s investment in the new coker will also help meet anticipated demand for lower-sulphur fuel oil to comply with new standards to be implemented by the International Maritime Organization (IMO)in 2020 (for more on this, see
Petroleum Review’s December 2018/January 2019 issue).

Other projects completed at the Antwerp facility include a 130 MW cogeneration unit, which has led to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and a diesel hydrotreater, which has increased the refinery’s production capacity for low-sulphur diesel to enable modern diesel engines to achieve lower emissions standards.

The delayed coker is the first of several expansion projects designed to strengthen the competitiveness of ExxonMobil’s facilities in Europe. The company is currently constructing a new hydrocracker in Rotterdam that will upgrade heavier hydrocarbon byproducts into cleaner, higher-value finished products such as EHC Group II base stocks and ultra-low sulphur diesel. The company is also considering an expansion project at its Fawley refinery in the UK that would include a new hydrotreater unit and associated hydrogen plant to increase domestic diesel production and reduce reliance on imported fuel.

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