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ExxonMobil to expand Rotterdam refinery to produce Group II base stocks, ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel

ExxonMobil announced that it will expand the hydrocracker unit at its Rotterdam refinery to upgrade heavier by-products into cleaner, higher-value finished products, including EHC™ Group II base stocks and ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel, to meet growing global demand.

The refinery, which is 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. The amount of the investment and the production capacity were not disclosed.

The Rotterdam hydrocracker project is located in an integrated petrochemical cluster. The project’s environmental impact assessment has been approved. Pending receipt of permits, construction is scheduled to begin in 2016. Unit start-up is targeted for 2018, ExxonMobil said.

“This investment demonstrates ExxonMobil’s long-term view and disciplined investment approach,” said Jerry Wascom, president of ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Company. “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-sulphur petroleum products and chemical feedstocks. 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 sulphur diesel fuel.

The base stocks that will be produced at Rotterdam are designed to help lubricant blenders achieve greater formulation flexibility and simplify global qualification testing.

“This investment underscores our 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,” said Loic Vivier, vice president of Wholesale & Specialties for ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants. “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.”