ExxonMobil Expands Rotterdam Hydrocracker to Produce Higher-Value Products

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Jerry Wascom

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ExxonMobil has announced that it will expand its hydrocracker unit in Rotterdam Refinery to produce higher-value finished products

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Nov 9, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT  |

EXXONMOBIL is to expand its hydrocracker unit at its Rotterdam refinery to upgrade heavier by-products into cleaner, higher-value finished products, including EHCTM Group II base stocks and ultra-low sulfur diesel. This will enable ExxonMobil to meet the growing global market demands of hydro energy.

The refinery, operated by Esso Nederland BV, will use ExxonMobil’s proprietary hydrocracking technology and be the first to produce EHC Group II base stocks in Europe. Base stocks are the primary ingredients used in the production of high-quality lubricating oils and greases. Group II base stocks are higher in performance, resulting in advantages in many lubricant and process oil applications.

Jerry Wascom, president, ExxonMobil Refining and Supply Company, said this investment demonstrates ExxonMobil’s long-term view and disciplined investment approach. “Despite a challenging industry environment, we are committed to our long-term strategy of investing in projects in advantaged locations where we can continue to increase competitiveness and profitability.”

ExxonMobil’s Rotterdam refinery, one of the most energy efficient in Europe, plays a key role in the region and marketplace as a manufacturer of low-sulfur petroleum products and chemical feed stocks. Following the expansion, the hydrocracking process will use proprietary catalysts applied in a unique refinery process configuration to efficiently produce both high-quality base stocks and ultra-low sulfur diesel.

The base stocks that will be produced at Rotterdam are designed to help lubricant blenders achieve greater formulation flexibility and simplify global qualification testing. ExxonMobil’s EHC product line will enable customers to cost-effectively blend a broad range of finished lubricants to meet evolving industry requirements.

Loic Vivier, vice president, Wholesale and Specialties, ExxonMobil Fuels and Lubricants, said the investment underscores the company’s commitment to provide high-quality base stocks in Europe and follows previously announced expansions at ExxonMobil’s Baytown, Texas and Jurong Singapore refineries this past year. “Combined with ExxonMobil’s existing manufacturing capabilities, this project will enable us to offer a global EHC Group II base stocks product offering to meet current and future customer needs.”

The Rotterdam hydrocracker project, coupled with the refinery’s advantageous location in an integrated petrochemical cluster, will strengthen the refinery’s position as a leader in the global refining industry. The project’s environmental impact assessment has been approved and the site-permitting process is being finalized. Permits are expected in early 2016. Pending receipt of permits, construction is scheduled to begin in 2016 and unit start-up is targeted for 2018.

ExxonMobil’s modern Rotterdam refinery has a daily throughput of 190,000 barrels and plays a key role in the region and marketplace as a manufacturer of low-sulfur petroleum products and feed stocks for the chemical industry. The refinery was built in the late 1950s and was the largest ever foreign investment at that time. A 1980s Flexicoker investment was the largest ever industrial investment in the Netherlands at that time.

ExxonMobil’s presence in the Netherlands dates back to 1891, making it the country’s oldest Oil and Gas Company. ExxonMobil is also the oldest U.S. industrial company in the Netherlands. ExxonMobil now has several manufacturing sites in the Rotterdam area, including a refinery, a lubes plant and four petrochemical plants. Its Esso fuels are sold to branded wholesalers and resellers.

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