ExxonMobil begins construction of new hydrocracker at Rotterdam refinery

ExxonMobil and government leaders gathered in Rotterdam on June 15 to break ground on the construction of a new hydrocracker. The unit will upgrade heavier hydrocarbon byproducts into cleaner, higher value finished products such as EHC™ Group II base stocks and ultra-low sulphur diesel.

Senior government officials, including Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp and Allard Castelein, CEO of Rotterdam Port Authority, participated in the event. In addition to a speech by the minister, remarks were made by EU Representative Tudor Constantinescu, John Noel, vice president of ExxonMobil Research & Engineering, and Joost Van Roost, president of ExxonMobil Petroleum & Chemical BVBA.

“ExxonMobil’s Rotterdam facilities have been drivers of economic expansion and growth in the region for the last 125 years,” Van Roost said.

“They provide affordable and reliable energy, well-paying jobs, tax revenues to governments, and are excellent examples of the value of a competitive refining sector to the economy.”

Breaking ground at the ExxonMobil Rotterdam Hydrocracker
Photo courtesy of ExxonMobil.

The project, which is valued at more than USD 1 billion, builds on past strategic investments at the Rotterdam site to strengthen the refinery’s position as a leader in the advantaged Rotterdam integrated petrochemical cluster and in the global refining industry.

“This project demonstrates ExxonMobil’s commitment to improve the competitiveness of its advantaged assets,” said Harro van de Rhee, refinery manager. “Our leading edge facilities and configuration define the Rotterdam refinery as one of the most competitive sites in a tough European refining environment. Governments have an important role to ensure a level playing field to allow European refineries to effectively compete in the global marketplace.”

The Rotterdam refinery, which is operated by Esso Nederland BV, is already one of the most energy-efficient refineries in Europe, and the project will increase its energy efficiency further by 5%. The expansion will also enable ExxonMobil’s proprietary hydrocracking technology to be used for the first time 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.

“ExxonMobil leverages expertise across the entire lubricants value chain to bring efficiency, cost effectiveness and value to our customers around the world,” said Noel. “Combined with ExxonMobil’s existing manufacturing capabilities, this project will enable us to provide a global EHC Group II base stocks product offering to meet current and future customer needs.”