Antwerp refinery upgrade to deliver 2020 fuel

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche
ShipInsight

01 November 2018


A $2bn refinery upgrade at its Antwerp refinery will allow ExxonMobil to produce 2020 compliant fuel.

ExxonMobil announced yesterday that it has started operations of 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 barrel-per-day unit expands the refinery’s capacity to meet demand for cleaner transportation fuels throughout northwest Europe. The company’s investment in the new coker will also help meet anticipated demand for lower-sulphur fuel oil to comply with new IMO standards to be implemented in 2020.

“Our investment in Antwerp strengthens ExxonMobil’s competitiveness and position as a leading European refiner by expanding the refinery’s product slate and increasing our ability to deliver larger quantities of cleaner, higher-value fuels to European customers,” said Bryan W Milton, president of ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants Company. “The $2 billion we have invested in our Antwerp refinery over the last decade has made the facility one of the most modern and efficient in the world.”

Other projects completed in Antwerp include a 130MW cogeneration unit, which leads 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 advantaged facilities in Europe. The company is currently constructing a new hydrocracker in Rotterdam that will upgrade heavier hydrocarbon by-products into cleaner, higher-value finished products and ultra-low sulphur diesel. ExxonMobil is also considering an expansion project at its Fawley refinery in the United Kingdom that would include a new hydrotreater unit and associated hydrogen plant to increase domestic diesel production and reduce reliance on imported fuel.