Refinery Updates: Autumn maintenance in Europe; refinery closures.

REFINERY NEWS: Autumn maintenance starts in Europe, more refinery closures.
DG News Service

London —  Maintenance is starting or is already underway at a number of European refineries in September and October.

Meanwhile more refinery closures are on the cards in Europe after Neste announced plans to potentially halt Naantali operations and transform it into a terminal.

** Finland’s Neste said that it is planing to restructure its refinery operations in Finland and is looking at shutting down operations at Naantali to focus instead “on the terminal and harbor operations.” Separately, it plans to transform Porvoo operations to co-processing renewable and circular raw materials. “The demand for fossil oil products will continue to decline, and the share of renewable energy solutions will continue to grow in the coming years. The COVID-19 pandemic has substantially accelerated the decline in demand for oil products, which is not expected to recover to previous levels,” the company said, adding that “fundamental changes are needed.” In 2017, Neste completed the integration of the Porvoo and Naantali refineries that now operate as one refinery with a total capacity of 13 million mt/year.

** France’s Grandpuits refinery could be closed as a refinery and converted into a plant for the production of bioplastics due to potentially costly repairs on the Ile-de-France pipeline (PLIF) bringing crude to the plant, according to local media reports.

** Gunvor Group said June 23 that it has commenced the process of assessing whether to mothball its Antwerp site, “given the uncertainties that the refinery will be again an economically viable operation in the near future.”

** Total has agreed to sell its Lindsey refinery in the UK to fuel trader and marketer Prax Group, as the French oil major focuses on its integrated downstream assets and the coronavirus adds to the uncertainty over long-term demand for fuel.

** Shell recently relaunched the sale of its Fredericia refinery in Denmark after suspending the sale in 2018.

** Finland’s Neste deferred planned maintenance. Norway’s Mongstad has decided to postpone maintenance work originally scheduled to take place in May. Two planned maintenances at Spain’s Castellon have been pushed back, with no fixed date for their execution.

** Hungary’s MOL said that it is planning only small-scale maintenance works across its refineries in the remainder of 2020, in line with its original plan.

** Turkey’s diesel demand from Sept. 1-12 rose 15% year on year to 733 million liters, according to energy ministry data, up from the 6.1% growth reported for August. Gasoline demand over the same period rose 24% to 118 million liters, compared with a rise of 8.1% in August. The data showed a sharp rise in demand for both fuels following the end of the holiday season in August and the ongoing ‘return to work’ following COVID-19. The holiday season saw many factories in larger cities slow production to allow staff to return to their villages. Coronavirus infection rates have been rising in many cities, including Ankara, with many organizations which had obliged employees to return to their offices, forced to send them home again after staff tested positive for the virus. Similarly, sales of new and second-hand passenger vehicles remained at unprecedented levels as people continue to avoid using public transport.

** Italian demand for refined oil products in August dropped 11.2%, or 566,000 mt, year on year to 4.5 million mt as the pace of the fall in consumption slowed from July’s 13.9% due to a gradual recovery linked to domestic tourism, according to data released Sept. 16 by industry group Unione Petrolifera. The August data “is evidence of a steady recovery in consumption due to domestic tourism, boosted by those who chose to remain at home for their holiday rather than travelling abroad,” Unione Petrolifera said in a statement. “The ongoing COVID-19 emergency, however, continues to limit the number of foreign tourists.”

In other news, an environmental protest at Preem’s Lysekil refinery near Brofjorden against an upgrade of the plant was not affecting operations, the company said Sept. 14. The protest, organized by Greenpeace, blocked the access of larger tankers at the refinery late last week with smaller tankers still able to dock, the company said. The upgrade, which has been cleared by the highest environmental court in Sweden, is awaiting government approval, the company said previously. Greenpeace said the upgrade could increase Sweden’s CO2 emissions, according to media reports. The upgrade plan includes a phase-out of fossil fuel and production of 5 million cu m of renewable gasoline, diesel and jet fuel by 2030. The refinery is not planning to increase the processing of crude oil but to reduce fuel oil output.

Eni’s converted Gela refinery in Sicily began restart operations on Sept. 12 after the refinery carried out maintenance and upgrade works, which started last month.

Finland’s Neste is selling its 49.99% stake in bitumen and specialist oil refiner Nynas to Dubai-based company Bitumina, it said Sept 16, amid a reorganization intended to avert a financial crisis at Nynas resulting from its links with Venezuela and reliance on Venezuelan crude. Stockholm-based Nynas owns three refineries in its own right, Nynashamn and Gothenburg in Sweden, and Harburg in Germany, and 50% of the Eastham refinery, the UK’s largest supplier of bitumen, alongside Shell. The company had been forced into a court-supervised reorganization, including a reduction in the 50% stake of Venezuela’s PDVSA to 15% in May, as it had built up debts in part because US sanctions prevented it using Venezuelan heavy crude oil. PDVSA’s divested 35% stake has been transferred to an independent Swedish foundation, with a court decision on the reorganization expected Sept. 17. Bitumina is already present in Scandinavia through its Danish subsidiary Denimotech, a supplier of bitumen processing and refining equipment.

Near term maintenance

New and revised entries

** ExxonMobil’s Antwerp refinery is planning works in October, according to market sources. The full maintenance is planned for the whole month.

The company declined to comment.

** Germany’s Lingen is due to carry out works in October, according to trading sources.

The company was not immediately available to comment.

** API’s refinery in the Italian coastal town of Falconara Marittima is placing its U2500 desulfurization unit offline for maintenance and upgrade works. The refinery went fully offline at the start of April after starting to wind down operations in March in a bid to offset a decline in demand for refined products in Italy caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It has since been restarted, and the plant carried out maintenance and upgrade works on its TK205 crude storage units in June. The Falconara refinery facility had only returned to full operations in March after a 40-day turnaround that began on Jan. 25.

** Italy’s Sarroch refinery has completed maintenance and upgrade works started in July on its hydrocracker diesel unit, according to a source close to the refinery. The refinery in the first half of the year carried out a series of maintenance and upgrade projects on units at the site. In addition to maintenance on the T1 and FCC units, it has also been carrying out work on its visbreaking plant and its U400 and U500 units, though it is not clear if this work has yet been completed. All the maintenance and upgrades at Sarroch are scheduled to be completed in the second half of the year, during which time the refinery will be able to reach capacity if required, Saras said earlier in the year.

** Russian energy group Lukoil’s ISAB refinery in Sicily will in early October start wide-scale maintenance and upgrade works originally planned for the March-April period this year, according to information provided by a source close to the refinery. Information on the duration of the maintenance or which units were involved was not available from the sources.

** The Milazzo refinery located on the southern Italian island of Sicily is undergoing planned maintenance and upgrade works on its FCC unit, according to a source close to the refinery. The duration of the maintenance is not known, though the upgrade started some 20 days ago, the source said. Milazzo is scheduled to carry out wide scale maintenance and upgrade of its diesel plants in the second quarter of 2021.

Existing entries

** Greek refiner Hellenic said that the planned maintenance at its Aspropyrgos refinery, the first after a five-year run, will start on Aug. 28, with the gradual shutdown of units, and will last nine weeks, “two more than planned, to include additional safety measures for COVID-19.” Due to the maintenance, Hellenic expects 800,000 mt lower output spread over Q3 and Q4.

** Preparations for the scheduled shutdown at the Wesseling site of the Rheinland refinery have almost been completed and planned maintenance will start on Aug.20, the company said. The works are expected to continue until October, the company previously said, without specifying the units affected. Petrochemicals sources said the methanol unit at the site will undergo maintenance at the same time, but the exact dates were not available. The unit has a total annual capacity of 400,000 mt. The refinery consists of the Wesseling (south) and Godorf (north) sites.

** Germany’s Heide Raffinerie will carry out planned maintenance between September 2-October 1. Preparations for the work have been underway for two years and will include three production plants. The refinery has postponed planned maintenance for six months due to the coronavirus outbreak, it said in April. The planned turnaround would have taken a quarter of its capacity offline. A propylene unit is also due to undergo works, sources said.

** Turkey’s Tupras said that work on the U-400 FCC, U-9200 CCR, U-9900 Isomerization and U-9900 MQD units at Izmir and the Plt-6 Desulphurizer at Izmit, all of which had been scheduled to take between three to eight weeks each during the fourth quarter, have been postponed to 2021.

** Finland’s Neste said July 23 that there is “scheduled catalyst change” in one of our Porvoo units in the third quarter and at the Rotterdam refinery in the fourth quarter.

** Two planned maintenances at the Castellon refinery is eastern Spain have been pushed back, with no fixed date for when they will now go ahead. The first was previously scheduled for May and to last two to three weeks, affecting two distillation units, the powerformer 1 and the HVN. A second maintenance, initially due for November for two to three weeks, affecting one conversion unit (treatment plant) and the 1.4 million mt/year coker, has been pushed back into 2021.

** Gunvor said June 23 that it’s Rotterdam refinery is currently undergoing a turnaround due to be completed in October. The company said at the end of March that it was delaying the turnaround due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gunvor halted CDU1 in November for economic reasons and also to prepare for the upcoming turnaround in March, it said previously. The refinery has CDU units of 38,000 b/d and 50,000 b/d capacity.

** France’s Gonfreville is working at around 50% capacity after its CDU was damaged. Works to repair the crude distillation unit at the Gonfreville refinery which have been suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak have now resumed, according to market sources. Total said earlier the CDU, which was damaged in December following a fire at a pump feeding crude oil, will restart before the end of the year.

** Planned general maintenance and an upgrade at Germany’s Leuna refinery this autumn has been postponed “due to the ongoing pandemic and the resulting restrictions on travel and transport of goods, as well as the impact on international supply chains”, the company said. The maintenance had been planned to take placed over six weeks, regional newspaper Mitteldeutsche Zeitung reported. Total said in 2019 it would invest Eur150 million ($166 million) to reduce production of heavy products as demand decreases, and increase production of methanol, a key feedstock for the chemical industry. Work was due to continue until 2021, with the bulk carried out during a major shutdown of the refinery in 2020.

** Eni’s Sannazzaro de Burgondi refinery in northern Italy started another cycle of maintenance and upgrade works, even as a decision on when to reactivate its Eni slurry technology (EST) unit, which has been offline since a 2016 fire, is still outstanding. No information was provided on which plants were involved in the maintenance and upgrade works, nor when the EST plant would be restarted. The works being carried out are not the series of works planned for the EST unit that had previously been suspended, the source said.

** The Canary Islands’ only refinery on Tenerife will be permanently closed in the long term. There has been no production since 2014. Cepsa will install some logistics and storage facilities at the site, amid a wider regeneration project.

Future

Existing entries

** Valero said that it carried out FCC works at UK’s Pembroke in Q2 which had been originally planned as part of a 2021 turnaround.

** Czech Unipetrol said that following the turnaround at its Litvinov plant in Q2’20 the refinery has prepared production for a new four-year cycle. Thus the next turnaround is due in 2024.

** Italy’s Milazzo will carry out wide-scale maintenance and upgrade works on its diesel plants in the second quarter of 2021. Around half of the refinery’s plants will be involved in the maintenance works. The works were originally planned for the autumn of this year but were recently postponed to next year after the COVID-19 crisis and the subsequent drop in demand for refined products led Milazzo to cancel all but necessary maintenance and investment works this year.

** Lukoil’s Neftochim refinery in Burgas, Bulgaria, will be carrying out major works in 2021, including atmospheric vacuum unit 1, atmospheric vacuum units 2, atmospheric vacuum distillation 2, FCC, hydrotreatment, hydrocracker, according to company tender documents. The refinery typically carries out works around February-March.

** Italy’s Livorno will avoid all non-essential maintenance and investment as part of a plan to reduce coronavirus-related risks. As part of the decision, the refinery will postpone a planned extraordinary maintenance cycle scheduled for October to 2021, though it is not clear whether this will take place in the first few months of the year or in April-May. The October maintenance was originally scheduled to last about one and a half months and would have involved most of the refinery’s main units as well as its storage plants.

** With its 2020 maintenance, Romania’s Petromidia and the petrochemical division “will align with the new operating strategy, with a general turnaround scheduled for 4 years and technological shutdowns scheduled for 2 years,” the company said.

** Finland’s Neste said in its Q1 report that its Porvoo refinery’s major turnaround in 2020 is now postponed to 2021 and would be carried in phases. The company had planned works for the second quarter of this year, but had to postpone them due to the coronavirus pandemic.

** The next large-scale maintenance at France’s Grandpuits will be in 2021. The works will include cleaning and repair of units, as well as works to improve performance. Works are planned to take place in Q1, 2021, Total said.

** Germany’s Mineraloelraffinerie Oberrhein (Miro) will carry out a major turnaround in 2021. It will invest Eur300 million ($333 million), with two-thirds going on new projects and a third for upgrading the existing plants during the turnaround.

** Two months of maintenance at the Sarpom refinery in Trecate, Italy, originally scheduled for October 2019 have been pushed back to 2021. Details on which units at the refinery will be upgraded as part of the maintenance — of the kind needed every 3-4 years — had yet to emerge.

** The Holborn refinery near Hamburg, northern Germany, plans its next turnaround in 2023. Its previous maintenance was in the autumn of 2018. The refinery carries out major works every five years.

** The next major maintenance at Poland’s Gdansk is planned for spring 2021.

** Repsol’s refinery at Puertollano in central Spain will carry out an upgrade of its olefins unit as part of planned maintenance of the cracker and chemical derivative plants at the end of 2020.

** The next major turnaround at Preem’s Gothenburg refinery in Sweden will be in 2021.

** Romania’s Petrobrazi will undergo its next big turnaround in 2022.

Upgrades

Existing entries

** PKN Orlen is holding talks with the Lithuanian government about it co-financing a bottom-of-the-barrel processing investment at the country’s Orlen Lietuva refinery. “Without in-depth processing there will be no future for this refinery. With the bad macroeconomic environment and margins as low as they are now, if the refinery is not modern it has problems with efficiency,” PKN CEO Daniel Obajtek told state news agency PAP Biznes. Obajtek said the investment would be PKN’s largest in Lithuania and it would increase the refinery’s diesel, gasoline and jet fuel yield by around 10 percentage points. Obajtek said that once a final investment decision was taken the project could be completed within three years.

** The industrial complex in Tarragona will adapt one of its units to manufacture advanced high resistance polypropylene with startup in 2021, Repsol said. When operational, the plant will be the first of its kind in the Iberian peninsula to produce the highly specialized polymers for use in the automotive sector, Repsol said.

** UK Humber refinery plans a capacity increase for its renewable diesel output in mid-2021, the company said. Humber can produce 1,000 b/d of renewable diesel, after starting production around a year ago, and will reach 4,000 b/d next year. It is processing used cooking oil in the cracker, it said during a Q2 conference call.

** The Kazakh-Romanian Energy Investment Fund (FIEKR) has signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract for Turkey’s Calik Enerji to build a cogeneration plant at Romania’s Petromidia refinery, Rompetrol said in a statement. Commissioning of the $148 million project is targeted for the first half of 2023. The new combined electricity and heat production plant will use natural gas as the main fuel. It will have capacity of 80 MW, of which 60-70 MW will fully cover the Petromidia plant’s electricity needs with up to 20 MW used to heat water for the town of Navodari’s heating system. Romania’s Petromidia is also planning to build a diesel dewaxing unit “which will allow the refinery to significantly improve the process of obtaining diesel fuels in the wintertime,” the company said in a statement. The project has estimated completion in September 2022. Separately, a second project is aimed at the increase by more than 30% of the production of polymers in the petrochemical division of Petromidia, which is “the sole producer in Romania in this field”.

** Greece’s Motor Oil Hellas said that its capital expenditure in H1 included the naphtha treatment complex, which has entered the construction phase in 2020 and is expected to be completed in Q1 2022.

** Poland’s second largest refiner Grupa Lotos Gdansk refinery in H1 continued its Hydrogen recovery unit project, which is 99% complete, and will help increase the production of hydrogen, LPG and naphtha. However its commissioning date, previously planned for H12020 has been postponed to the second half of the year “due to difficulties related to the pandemic and technical issues”. Furthermore, there is a risk of delayed launch of projects in pre-FID phase, such as the HBO (oil hydrocracker). Grupa Lotos is looking at developing a hydrocracker unit for the production of base oils.

** Valero said the cogen project at Pembroke, UK will be completed in 2021. It has previously said that the project had slowed down, “pushing out” the mechanical completion by six to nine months. In 2016, Valero submitted a planning application to build a 45 MW combined heat and power generation plant at Pembroke, which will provide power to the refinery and supplement its steam demand.

** PKN Orlen laid the foundation stone July 6 to mark the start of a Zloty 1 billion ($254 million) investment to build a visbreaking unit at its Plock refinery. The unit, which will increase gasoline and diesel yield at the refinery, is being built by a consortium of KTI Poland and IDS-BEU under a turnkey contract. It will be completed by the end of 2022. The company has said previously the visbreaker will allow the refinery to reduce fuel oil output and increase its production of distillates. The unit will have a capacity to produce 200,000 mt/year of diesel. Ongoing modernization of the hydrocracking and diesel hydrodesulfurisation units at Plock will also increase the refinery’s diesel production capacity. PKN Orlen, said it has purchased a license and basic design for the modernization of a hydrodesulfurisation (HOG) unit to increase the production of high-margin products at its Plock refinery. PKN signed a contract to buy the license from Axens. The HOG unit at Plock was launched in 1999. The modernization will allow the unit to produce more diesel and gasoline.

** Spanish integrated energy company Repsol said June 15 it will build a 10-MW, green-hydrogen plant which it will use to produce synthetic fuels in collaboration with Saudi Aramco at its Bilbao refinery. The plant is part of an Eur80-million decarbonization project that will also include a carbon-capture project and a fuel-from-waste plant, and should be completed by 2024.

** An upgrade of Preem’s Lysekil refinery near Brofjorden, Sweden, which has been cleared by the highest environmental court in Sweden, is now awaiting government approval, the company said June 18. The upgrade, which is part of the refinery’s drive to ensure climate neutrality by 2040, was awaiting decisions by the land and environment court of appeal as well as the government. The plan includes a phase-out of fossil fuel and production of 5 million m3 of renewable gasoline, diesel and jet fuel by 2030. The refinery is not planning to increase the processing of crude oil but to reduce the fuel oil output. Around 20% of the refinery’s current output is HSFO, demand for which had diminished following the IMO 2020 sulfur cap on marine fuel. Preem is aiming to build a slurry hydrocracking plant that can convert fuel oil into sulfur-free gasoline and diesel. It can also be used to make renewable fuels but need environmental clearance.

** Five 2 MW PEM electrolysers have been installed and testing has begun at Shell’s Rheinland refinery in Germany, but delays to the Refhyne project are now anticipated due to coronavirus restrictions, UK hydrogen company ITM said in a trading update June 8. Germany’s Rhineland has started the construction of a new hydrogen production plant, using electrolysis, at its Wesseling site. The investment project, due for completion in 2020, will generate hydrogen from electricity rather than natural gas. The refinery consists of the Wesseling (south) and Godorf (north) sites. Separately, the refinery has received permission to start construction of a new power plant at Godorf. The new plant is scheduled to go on stream in 2021. As part of the modernization, Shell is converting the power plant from oil to gas.

** Planned general maintenance and an upgrade at Germany’s Leuna refinery this autumn has been postponed “due to the ongoing pandemic and the resulting restrictions on travel and transport of goods, as well as the impact on international supply chains”, the company said. Work was also due to continue in 2021 and by the end of next year the project would be completed. Total said in 2019 that it would invest Eur150 million ($166.5 million) over 2020-2021 to reduce production of heavy products as demand decreases, and increase production of methanol, an important feedstock for the chemical industry.

** Germany’s Heide refinery is looking to cut its carbon dioxide production for its industrial operations using grey hydrogen for refined products desulfurization, and from early 2019 green hydrogen has been added to the mix for feedstock purposes. “The goal is to have a 700 MW of electrolysis capacity installed by 2030, this would be enough to abate 1 million mt of CO2 per year by producing 100,000 mt of hydrogen … and this is only at our facility,” said Wollschlaeger. To achieve its ambitions, Heide is part of the “Westkuste 100” consortium that includes EDF, Orsted, Stadtwerke Heide, Thuga and Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, which have teamed up to advance the use of green hydrogen for industrial purposes. The consortium submitted a proposal in early 2019 to the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy to seek funds for the project. The outcome is expected to be known by the middle to end of 2020.

** Poland’s largest refiner PKN Orlen said it has completed the main part of its polyethylene 3 (PE3) investment at the Litvinov refinery in the Czech Republic. Unipetrol will build a pyrolytic unit for waste-plastic processing at its plant in Litvinov. Separately, McDermott International has been awarded a contract for engineering, procurement and construction management services for the upgrade of the hydrocracker at Czech Litvinov refinery. The completion is expected for Q2 2020.

** A new diesel hydrodesulfurization unit at France’s Donges was expected to come online in 2023, Total said. Construction of the HDT-VGO units, which had been awarded to Kinetics Technology, will go ahead alongside a rail bypass which was the main requirement for the refinery’s upgrade to proceed. Kinetics Technology said it had been awarded the contract for building the 40,000 b/d hydrotreater. The French government, local authorities, railway operator SNCF and Total signed a memorandum of intent in 2016 to build the railroad track bypassing the Donges refinery. Total said previously that, following the bypass agreement, it would proceed with the planned upgrade. The bypass will be ready in 2022.

** Turkish refiner Tupras’ upgrade plans for its four refineries include a number of new units as well as works for modernizing existing ones. The company has opened an EPC tender valued at around $400 million for the construction of new sulfur units at its three main refineries, Izmit, Izmir and Kirikkale. Tupras has also signed a $66 million tender for the revamp of the FCC unit at Izmit, which will include the installation of flue gas treatment and energy back recovery systems. Installation work is set to start this year and complete in 2021. Work had already started on a $3.9 million modernization of the PLT-7 LPG Merox unit at Izmir designed to reduce sulfur content from 50 ppm to 30 ppm, to meet new emissions standards. Further upgrades planned at Izmir include a $25 million project to increase the capacity of the CCR U-9200 Platformer Unit from 160 cu m/hour to 225 cu m/hour, as well as a $69 million project to revamp the FCC unit and install flue gas treatment and energy recovery systems.

** Croatia’s INA has selected Axens Futurol ethanol technology for the “basic engineering design” of an advanced bioethanol production plant at Sisak. Hungary MOL’s Croatian affiliate INA made a final investment decision to carry out a residue upgrade project at the Rijeka refinery. The project includes building a delayed coker. MOL said the Sisak refinery will be converted into a bitumen production site and logistics hub. The facility may also produce lubricants and bio-fuel components too, subject to further investment decisions.

** Germany’s Burghausen refinery is planning to commission a new ISO C4 system for the production of high purity isobutane in September.

** Serbia’s Pancevo will upgrade the catalytic cracker, Gazprom Neft said. NIS, a subsidiary of Gazprom Neft, has signed a contract for developing the project with Lummus Technology, part of McDermott Group. The completion is earmarked for 2024. It is part of the refinery’s modernization, ongoing since 2009. Within the same project a unit will be built for the production of high octane gasoline components. The deep processing complex, part of the second modernization phase, also under Lummus project, is in the final stages of construction. The launch of the complex, which includes a delayed coker and will increase the depth of processing to 99.2% and increase gasoline and diesel output, will help the refinery halt fuel oil output.

** Gunvor is studying the potential installation of an HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) at the Rotterdam refinery.

** Bosnia’s Brod refinery is offline while it is being reconstructed. A pipeline, being built to supply it with natural gas to fuel its internal processes, is expected to be ready from Q3 2020. The refinery suspended its operations in 2019 for an upgrade and to prepare for the use of natural gas. The gas will replace fuel oil as a power source for the refinery processes.

** Varo Energy’s Cressier refinery in Switzerland is installing a new column at the crude distillation unit which will allow it to reduce CO2 emissions but also to expand the scope of its light products yield. The column will start operations in the second quarter of 2020.

** Upgrade work to increase San Roque’s refining margin, and construct a new hydrocracker, has been halted by local government, Cepsa said. The San Roque Council ordered earthworks at the site to be halted, affecting Cepsa’s work on its “Bottom of the Barrel” project. The upgrades are targeted for completion by 2022. Separately, Cepsa will revamp Isomax, fluid catalytic cracker, alkylation units at San Roque and will construct a methylene unit (Sorbex II).

** ExxonMobil said it has “made a final investment decision to expand” the Fawley refinery in the UK to increase production of ULSD by 45%, or 38,000 b/d. The more than $1 billion investment includes a hydrotreater to remove sulfur from diesel, supported by a hydrogen plant. Start-up was expected in 2021.

** Russian Lukoil plans to invest in its ISAB refinery in southern Italy and has also dropped plans announced in 2017 to sell the plant having not received suitable offers. Lukoil will invest $60 million in upgrades, including two hydrodesulfurization units.

** Cepsa said it will carry out upgrades to its aromax and hydrocracker units at Huelva. It is also carrying out an aromatics optimization project at the refinery.

** Israel’s Haifa District Court has rejected an appeal by Haifa municipality along with six other neighboring communities and environmental groups against the proposed expansion of the Bazan refinery.

** Total’s Feyzin is considering mothballing a visbreaker unit around 2021 as demand for heavy fuel is gradually declining and the unit works on average no more than three days a month. As a result of the mothballing seven people would lose their jobs, but would be offered other jobs within the organization, the company said.

Launches

Existing entries

** Preliminary work on Estonia’s new refinery has started, with an agreement signed between Eesti Energia and Viry Keemia Group with Italian company KT Kinetics Technology. The preliminary project is due to be completed in the summer of 2020, “after which the main project will be decided,” according to Eesti Energia. The refinery will process 1.6 million mt/year shale oil and produce 1.5 million mt/year products. It is aimed to be completed in 2024 and produce naphtha, gasoil and ULSFO.

** Turkey’s Ersan Petrol plans to start construction of its 1.4 million mt/year Nazli refinery at Kahramanmaras in southeast Turkey in mid-2020, with the plant expected to begin operations in less than four years, company owner Ecvet Sayer said.

** Azerbaijani state oil company Socar is considering the development of a second refinery in Turkey, in addition to its existing 214,000 b/d Star refinery at Aliaga on Turkey’s central Aegean coast.