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REFINERY NEWS ROUNDUP: SAF moving into focus in Europe

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  • Elza Turner
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  • Daniel Lalor
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Sustainable aviation fuel is gaining ever more traction with European refiners.

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Austria's OMV will strive to become a "leading producer of sustainable fuels and chemical feedstock in Europe" and aims to reduce fossil fuel processing, the company said. OMV said fossil fuel processing at its European refineries will "decline significantly" in terms of volumes and margins as it focuses on renewable fuels and sustainable chemical feedstocks. OMV said it will optimize its integrated refineries in Burghausen and Schwechat to maximize high-quality fossil resources and raise the share of sustainable feedstock. The three European refineries in Austria, Germany, and Romania will continue to be run as one integrated system, optimizing plant utilization, and maximizing margins. As a result, OMV said its production of sustainable fuels and chemical feedstock will increase to 1.5 million mt/year by 2030, with sustainable aviation fuels accounting for almost half the volume. OMV said it was also aiming to boost sales of SAF to more than 700,000 mt by 2030.

Finnish refiner and biofuel maker Neste has agreed a five-year supply deal for SAF with DHL Express under a strategic collaboration with the courier. Neste will supply DHL with approximately 320,000 mt (400 million liters) of SAF, marking one of the largest such agreements in the aviation industry. "This milestone agreement, our largest ever for SAF, underlines the growing need and urgency -- as well as the commitment -- to act on aviation-related emissions," Neste CEO Peter Vanacker said. Deutsche Post DHL Group has committed to using 30% of SAF blending for all air transport by 2030 under its sustainability targets.

California-based renewable fuel supplier Aemetis has signed a sustainable aviation fuel supply deal with Finnair as part of the airline's drive to net-zero emissions by 2045, the US company said. The offtake agreement to supply 17.5 million gallons over seven years came after Neste, a specialist in biofuels, began supplying SAF to Helsinki airport in 2021. Aemetis is building a 'Carbon Zero 1' SAF and renewable diesel refinery on a former military base near Modesto, California, adding to its existing facilities nearby and in India. Aemetis said the contract with Finnair was worth $70 million including incentives, and delivery of the blended SAF would begin in 2025.

UPGRADES

Refinery
Total capacity
Country
Owner
Upgrade
Completion
Gdansk
210,000
Poland
Lotos
Convent/Hydrogen
2025
Plock
326,000
Poland
PKN Orlen
Conventional
2022
Trzebinia
7,400
Poland
PKN Orlen
Hydrogen
2021
Jedlicze
25,000
Poland
PKN Orlen
Biofuel
NA
Litvinov
108,000
Czech
Unipetrol
Conventional
2022
Petromidia
114,000
Romania
Rompetrol
Conventional
2022
Burgas
190,000
Bulgaria
Lukoil
Conventional
NA
Izmir
220,000
Turkey
Tupras
Bigofuel
2026
Kirikkale
108,000
Turkey
Tupras
Conventional
NA
Star
212,000
Turkey
Socar
Conventional
NA
Orlen Lietuva
204,000
Lithuania
PKN Orlen
Conventional
2024
Pancevo
98,000
Serbia
NIS
Conventional
2024
Rijeka
90,000
Croatia
INA
Conventional
2023
Sisak
44,000
Croatia
INA
Bioethanol
NA
Brod
108,000
Bosnia
Optima
Conventional
2020
Donges
219,000
France
TotalEnergies
Conventional
2023
Grandpuits
101,000
France
TotalEnergies
Renewables
2024
Antwerp
150,000
Belgium
TotalEnergies
Biofuel
NA
Huelva
220,000
Spain
Cepsa
Conventional/Biofuel
NA
San Roque
245,000
Spain
Cepsa
Conventional/Biofuel
NA
Cartagena
220,000
Spain
Repsol
Biofuel
2023
Bilbao
220,000
Spain
Repsol
Hydrogen
2024
Tarragona
186,000
Spain
Repsol
Renewables
2025
Sines
220,000
Portugal
Galp
Conventional
NA
Sines
220,000
Portugal
Galp
Renewables
NA
Haifa
197,000
Israel
Bazan Group
Expansion
NA
Corinth
180,000
Greece
Motor Oil
Conventional
2022
Petrobrazi
90,000
Romania
Joint
Conventional
2023
Petromidia
100,000
Romania
Rompetrol
Conventional
2023
Petrotel
48,000
Romania
Lukoil
Hydrogen
NA
Fawley
270,000
UK
ExxonMobil
Convent/Hydrogen
NA
Humber
221,000
UK
Phillips66
Renewables
2021
Grangemouth
150,000
UK
Petroineos
Renewables
2030
Stanlow
205,500
UK
Essar Oil
Renweables
2023
ISAB
321,000
Italy
Lukoil
Conventional
NA
Venice
400,000
Italy
Eni
Upgrade
Sarroch
300,000
Italy
Saras
Hydrogen
NA
Schwedt
230,000
Germany
Joint
Conventional
NA
Miro
310,000
Germany
Joint
Hydrogen
2021
Heide
90,000
Germany
Klesch
Hydrogen
2025
Lingen
96,000
Germany
BP
Hydrogen/SAF
2024
Rhineland
327,000
Germany
Shell
Hydrogen
2021
Schwechat
192,000
Austria
OMV
Biofuel
2023
Burghausen
76,000
Austria
OMV
Conventional
2022
Cressier
68,000
Switzerland
Varo
Solar
2022
Brofjorden
220,000
Sweden
Preem
Renewables
NA
Porvoo
260,000
Finland
Neste
Renewables
2023
Fredericia
70,000
Denmark
Postlane Partners
Hydrogen
2025
Rotterdam
88,000
Netherlands
Gunvor
Biofuel
NA
Pernis
404,000
Netherlands
Shell
Biofuel
NA

LAUNCHES

Porto Romano
150,000
Albania
Joint
launch
2025
Nazli
28,000
Turkey
Ersan
launch
2022
Aliaga
NA
Turkey
Steas
launch
NA

Conventional upgrades

New and revised entries

** In 2021, Italian contractor KT-Kinetics Technology began design work on Polish Lotos's key hydrocracking base oils (HBO) project at Gdansk. The installation will have the capacity to produce 400,000 mt of group II base oils and was expected to be commissioned in H1 2025. The heart of the HBO project will be an isodewaxing/isofinishing (IDW/IF) unit, which will rely on hydrogen-based processes used by oil hydrocrackers. The company continues work to replace the furnaces to improve the efficiency of the hydrogen sulfide combustion unit, which is due to be completed in early 2023.

** France's Donges refinery commenced its restart March 16. During the maintenance, which started late November, Donges has also been building a new desulfurization unit. TotalEnergies halted operations at Donges on Nov. 30, 2020, due to weak margins. Meanwhile, a new railway to bypass the Donges plant, meaning other rail traffic will not have to pass through the site, is set to start operations in October. Work on the railway, which has been a condition for modernizing the refinery, started in 2020. The French government, local authorities, railway operator SNCF and TotalEnergies signed a memorandum of intent in 2016 to build the railway bypassing the refinery. TotalEnergies has said previously that, following the bypass agreement, it would proceed with the planned upgrade. The bypass was due to be ready in 2022. Kinetics Technology said it had been awarded the contract for building the 40,000 b/d hydrotreater.

Existing entries

** Cepsa's San Roque Eur1 billion "bottom of the barrel" project, which includes the construction of a new hydrocracker and the idling of the visbreaking unit, among other work, might not go ahead, a Spanish union spokesperson from the site said March 3. The announcement was made in a news conference March 2 by Jose Manuel Rodriguez, regional secretary of the UGT-FICA union, a spokesperson of the union said, adding the union had been informed unofficially of the decision. Cepsa said it will present its new strategic plan in coming months in which it will announce its investment plan for the region. It received a favorable environmental impact assessment near the end of 2020, with a target date for a start-up of 2022. The project could have added a potential $1.4/b to its refining margin while also increasing refining capacity by 36,000 b/d. The output of diesel would have increased to 55% from 40%, with output of marine diesel and bunker fuel oil also set to increase. Rodriguez noted that the company was switching its focus to green hydrogen in the refinery, and that might have influenced the decision.

** Croatia's Rijeka refinery expects to complete works on a new residue upgrade complex, including a delayed coker, in 2022, local media reported. Works on the upgrade started in 2020.

** Azerbaijan's state oil company Socar is looking to expand the capacity of its 212,000 b/d Star refinery in Turkey. Socar said it could expand Star's capacity to 13 million mt/year (261,000 b/d) by means of "flexibilities" in the refinery's design.

** PKN Orlen has signed an EPC contract with UK-based Petrofac to build a bottom-of-the-barrel unit at its Mazeikiu refinery in Lithuania. The unit is expected to be completed by the end of 2024 and will allow a rise in the production of high-margin products to 86% of the total, from 73%.

** Orlen Unipetrol will expand the steam cracker at its Litvinov refinery to boost petrochemical production. A new steam cracker furnace will be built by Technip Energies and be commissioned in 2022. The steam cracker, comprised of 10 cracking furnaces, has production capacity of 545,000 mt/year of ethylene. The construction of an 11th furnace will boost that capacity to 585,000 mt/year. PKN Orlen has completed the Czech Crown 9.6 billion ($410 million) polyethylene 3 unit investment at Litvinov. The refinery's owner, Unipetrol, a 100%-owned PKN subsidiary, has taken charge of the black polyethylene unit, the second part of the investment. The first part, the natural polyethylene unit, was completed in April 2020. The polyethylene 3 unit, which can produce 270,000 mt/year of high density polyethylene, will replace production of one of the two existing production units with a capacity of 120,000 mt/year. Litvinov's polyethylene capacity will increase from 320,000 mt/year to 470,000 mt/year. PKN Orlen was launching construction of a unit at Litvinov to produce up to 26,000 mt/year of dicyclopentadiene, or DCPC, used in the automotive, construction and electronic industries. The unit is planned to be completed in the second half of 2022. Separately, McDermott International has been awarded a contract for engineering, procurement and construction management services for an upgrade of the hydrocracker at the Litvinov refinery.

** Poland's PKN Orlen had bought a license and base design from US engineering company KBR for a potential bottom-of-the-barrel project. If PKN takes a final investment decision, it will construct a production complex using solvent de-asphalting and fluid catalytic cracking technologies. Separately, PKN Orlen laid the foundation stone in 2020 to build a visbreaking unit at its Plock refinery. The unit 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 unit will have a capacity to produce 200,000 mt/year of diesel. Ongoing modernization of the hydrocracking and diesel hydrodesulfurization units at Plock will also increase the refinery's diesel production capacity. PKN Orlen has bought a license and basic design for modernizing a hydrodesulfurization unit. PKN signed a contract to buy the license from Axens. The HOG unit at Plock was launched in 1999. PKN Orlen has also signed an EPC contract for expanding an olefins complex at its Plock refinery. The Olefins III complex will be built by a consortium of Hyundai Engineering Co., and Tecnicas Reunidas. Construction work on the complex is scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2024, to enable commissioning at the start of 2025.

** Turkish construction group Tekfen Insaat said that together with partner HMB Hallesche Mitteldeutsche Bau it had signed an EPC contract with Turkey's main refiner Tupras to construct a new sulfur recovery unit at the Kirikkale refinery. Tekfen said the project would take 36 months to complete. It did not say when work was expected to start. Tupras' upgrade plans for its four refineries include new sulfur units at its three main refineries, Izmit, Izmir and Kirikkale. Tupras is also carrying out a revamp of the FCC unit at Izmit, which will include the installation of flue gas treatment and energy back recovery systems.

** OMV Petrom said it will invest approximately Eur70 million ($83 million) at its Petrobrazi refinery in Romania to replace the four coke drums. The replacements will take place between 2021 and 2023.

** Austria's OMV is planning an upgrade during a turnaround at its Burghausen refinery in Germany in the third quarter of 2022. "We are expanding and modernizing the steam cracker in Burghausen, Germany, which will increase the capacities for ethylene and propylene production. Essential integration works for this project will take place during the turnaround," a source at the company said. The expansion is expected to facilitate increased annual ethylene and propylene production by around 50,000 mt/year.

** Portugal's Galp will build a desulfurization unit with a processing capacity of 20,000 b/d at the Sines refinery. The project will allow the company to widen its crude slate. Galp did not provide a date for the project as it presented its 2021-25 strategic plan.

** Greece's Hellenic Petroleum said in 2021 that Eur35 million had been approved for a capacity increase at the polypropylene production unit at Thessaloniki to 300,000 mt/year, with implementation targeted within 2-1/2 years.

** The Kazakh-Romanian Energy Investment Fund (FIEKR) started constructing the cogeneration plant at Romania's Petromidia refinery. The plant is expected to be commissioned by end-July 2023. The FIEKR signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract for Turkey's Calik Enerji to build the cogeneration plant. The new combined electricity and heat production plant will use natural gas as the main fuel. It will have a 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. In 2020, two other projects were approved aimed at modernizing the Petromidia refinery. They comprised building a diesel dewaxing unit which will allow the refinery to improve the production of winter diesel and increase the production of special aviation fuel. In addition, the refinery is working on increasing by more than 30% its polymer production by converting the high-density polyethylene installation into a polypropylene installation.

** Greece's Motor Oil Hellas said its Corinth refinery continues building the naphtha treatment complex, which is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2022. Construction started in 2020.

** Bosnia's Brod refinery has launched a solar power station. The refinery suspended its operations in 2019 to upgrade and prepare for using natural gas and remains offline. A pipeline is being built to supply the refinery with natural gas to fuel its internal processes. The gas will replace fuel oil as a power source for the refinery processes.

** Serbia's Pancevo refinery expects to complete its FCC project by 2023. The refinery also plans to build a unit to produce the octane enhancement chemical ETBE by 2024.

** Cepsa will revamp Isomax, fluid catalytic cracker, alkylation units at San Roque and will construct a methylene unit (Sorbex II).

** Bulgaria's Burgas refinery has awarded a contract to US Lummus Technology for a 280,000 mt/year polypropylene plant. The contract includes a technology license as well as basic design engineering, training and services, and catalyst supply.

** ExxonMobil said it has "made a final investment decision to expand" the Fawley refinery in the UK to increase production of ultra low sulfur diesel 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.

** Russian Lukoil plans to invest in its ISAB refinery in southern Italy. Lukoil will invest $60 million in upgrades, including two hydrodesulfurization units.

** Cepsa said it will upgrade 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.

Biofuel, hydrogen upgrades

Existing entries

** France's TotalEnergies said it has "successfully started production" of SAF at its Gonfreville refinery in Normandy. The new site complements the biojet production capacities of the company's La Mede refinery and the Oudalle plant. TotalEnergies also said it will produce SAF at its Grandpuits zero-crude refinery starting in 2024. All the biojet will be supplied to French airports and will be produced from waste and residue sourced from the circular economy. Grandpuits, near Paris, stopped refining in Q1 2021 and will be converted to a zero-oil platform. La Mede, in the south of France, and Oudalle, near Le Havre, began producing SAF in April 2021. La Mede stopped processing crude oil at the end of 2016 and was converted into a bio plant in 2019.

** Spain's A Coruna has started planned work on four conversion units, Repsol said March 11. During the work, Repsol will carry out work on the hydrotreatment unit that will boost biofuel output. The work will allow it to process vegetable oils alongside used cooking oil to produce 5,500 mt/year in 2022, with the volume rising to 10,500 mt/year by 2024. The remainder of the work, which will generally target sulfur reduction units, will aid the overall transformation of the refinery to produce more biofuels and other low-carbon fuels.

** Repsol's Cartagena has started construction of its planned second-generation biofuel plant at the nearby to the refinery Escombreras facility, which should result in the production of 250,000 mt/year of biodiesel from waste from mid-2023. The company will invest Eur200 million in the project that would output biodiesel, biojet, bionaphtha and biopropane, allowing an overall CO2 reduction of 900,000 mt/year. As part of its drive to decarbonize the refinery, Repsol also plans to build a 100 MW hydrogen electrolyzer at Cartagena, with a target date of 2025.

** PKN Orlen said its subsidiary Orlen Poludnie has signed an agreement for building a "complex of units for production of II generation bioethanol" at its biofuels refinery in Jedlicze, southern Poland. The B2G complex will include a main unit for bioethanol production and will have the capacity to produce 25,000 mt/year of bioethanol from biomass. In the next stage, a biogas plant will be built. The biomass will be mainly cereals straw sourced from Polish farmers. The bioethanol complex will also include a biomass-fired combined heat and power plant, which will generate heat for bioethanol production. The Jedlicze refinery is a small former petroleum refinery, which together with the Trzebinia refinery, was incorporated into Orlen Poludnie, the company's biofuels subsidiary.

** Italy's Eni considers converting its Livorno refinery into a biorefinery that will produce hydrogenated biofuel, according to local media reports. Livorno can also produce biojet as well as lubricants. The plan has been discussed at a meeting with authorities and labor unions organized by the ministry of economic development.

The company, however, has asked for the sector to be supported by the government and a further discussion will follow, according to the reports. Last year, the company had unveiled plans to stop refining crude and suspend all related activities at the Livorno refinery by end 2022, according to information provided by labor unions, as reported by S&P Global Commodity Insights previously.

** Orsted and BP are to jointly develop a 50 MW renewable hydrogen project at BP's Lingen refinery in Germany. The project, expected to be operational in 2024, would comprise a 50 MW electrolyzer capable of generating 9,000 mt/year of hydrogen, 20% of the refinery's current fossil-based hydrogen consumption.

The electrolyzer is expected to be powered by an Orsted North Sea offshore wind farm. The partners have a longer-term ambition to build more than 500 MW of renewable hydrogen capacity at Lingen, providing renewable hydrogen to meet all the refinery's hydrogen demand and provide feedstock for future synthetic fuel production.

** Portugal's Galp is targeting a final investment decision on its planned 100-MW Sines hydrogen production plant in Q1 2023, CEO Andy Brown said. Brown said Galp was also "just about" to take FID on a first stage 2-MW electrolyzer pilot project at Sines. Galp's own 100-MW Sines electrolyzer project will focus on its refinery there, with a target to replace existing conventional hydrogen production.

"We can go to 600 MW to actually replace all our grey [hydrogen] with green," and with the possibility of converting the renewable hydrogen to ammonia, "it becomes a complete system," Brown said.

Previously, Galp said that the Sines industrial site around the refinery will undergo a gradual transformation into a green energy hub which Galp expects to be leveraged on the access to green hydrogen. This will allow further industrial applications, such as synthetic fuel, and support a significant emissions reduction by 2030. The upgrade could entail a 270,000 mt/year HVO production site, on which Galp has to take a final investment decision.

** Neste said its Singapore renewables capacity expansion project was currently on schedule for a start-up by the end of Q1 2023. The project is set to increase Neste's renewable product capacity by 1.3 million mt/year and bring its total production capacity to 4.5 million mt/year. The new production line would also include optionality to produce up to 1 million mt/year of SAF.

Neste expects to reach SAF production capability of 1.5 million mt/year by the end of 2023. The project for a possible next world-scale renewables refinery in Rotterdam was in the engineering phase and its scope was "relatively similar" to the new Singapore unit.

Separately, Neste and its partners in the MultiPLHY consortium are entering the construction stage for a 2.4-MW high-temperature electrolyzer system to produce hydrogen at the Finnish company's renewable products refinery in Rotterdam.

Mechanical completion was expected by mid-2022. The start-up was expected to take place in the second half of 2022. The Rotterdam facility has a capacity of more than 1.3 million mt/year of renewable products.

** Italian energy company Eni and SEA, the operator of Milan's Malpensa and Linate airports, have signed an agreement to supply SAF for commercial flights, as a step towards accelerating the "ecological transition" of the two airports. The agreement follows a decision by the two companies in December 2021 to supply SAF for private flights. "Eni started producing SAFs a few months ago with a mix containing 0.5% of used cooking oil, but there are also plans to develop Eni Biojet soon" which will be made "exclusively" from used cooking oil or animal fats and can be "used in a blend with conventional jet fuel of up to 50%," Umberto Carrara, Director of Green/Traditional Refining and Market at Eni said in the statement. The company plans to produce around 200,000 mt/year by 2024 and double the production by 2030.

** BP has partnered with Dutch green hydrogen company HyCC to develop its 250-MW H2-Fifty electrolyzer project in Rotterdam. The companies will next select a technology partner for the previously announced renewable hydrogen project and begin environmental studies, with a final investment decision expected in 2023. The project is expected to come online in 2025. The renewable hydrogen produced at the facility will replace fossil-based feedstock at BP's Rotterdam refinery and other industries in the area. The plant will be situated in the Maasvlakte area of Rotterdam.

** Essar Oil UK, owner of Stanlow refinery in northwest England, has submitted planning application to the regional authorities for constructing hydrogen production plants at its Stanlow Manufacturing Complex. Construction of the two blue hydrogen production plants is scheduled to begin by the end of 2022, with hydrogen production expected to commence by the mid-2020s. The capacity of the first processing plant will be 350 MW of high-purity low carbon hydrogen. The second plant will have 700 MW capacity. Follow-on capacity growth is planned. Essar is on track to install and commission a more efficient hydrogen-capable furnace in 2023, set to replace three gas-fired furnaces at the plant's crude distillation unit. The new furnace will use hydrogen produced by the HyNet North West blue hydrogen project at Stanlow when the first stage of the initiative is set to come on stream in 2026.

Until then, it will be fired by natural gas. Essar Oil UK, together with Fulcrum BioEnergy Ltd., will build a new facility to convert non-recyclable household waste into SAF, to be used by airlines operating at UK airports. The facility will be operational in late 2025. Essar is also developing 300,000 cu m of biofuel capacity storage at the site over the next three years, allowing customers to store, blend and distribute biofuels for the road, aviation and marine sectors. It will become the UK's largest biofuels storage facility when completed.

** Repsol's Bilbao is on track to install its first hydrogen electrolyzer with a capacity of 2.5 MW in H2 2022. This could be scaled up to 100 MW by 2025. The company will invest in a pilot plant to make 50 b/d of synthetic fuels from green hydrogen and CO2, which could be completed in 2024. This could be expanded to produce 200,000 mt to 500,000 mt by the end of the decade. A separate plant, costing Eur20 million is contemplated to generate gas to feed the refinery from urban waste.

** Repsol and partners Enerkem and Agbar have presented a project to transform 400,000 mt/year of urban waste to 220,000 mt/year methanol at Tarragona, which should start up in 2025 with an investment of Eur250 million.

Spain's Tarragona has started on a series of energy transition projects, including the manufacture of biofuel for aviation and an advanced biofuels plant, which is already under construction. The refinery plans to build a 100-MW hydrogen electrolyzer by 2025.

** Spain's Cepsa is to develop and produce SAF from waste, recycled used oils, and other sustainable plant-based feedstocks with airline operator Iberia. The deal signed by Cepsa and the Iberia Group will also see them investigate other alternative energies such as renewable hydrogen and electricity with the aim of promoting sustainable mobility for aircraft and the fleet of airport ground vehicles. Cepsa, which operates La Rabida and San Roque, has been producing biofuels in its refineries for more than 10 years, and is already engaged in research to convert waste and used oils into fuels from renewable sources with a high energy value.

Cepsa and utility Endesa signed an agreement to develop green hydrogen production at La Rabida and San Roque to replace natural gas, with the development awaiting European funding.

** Ineos is now seeking design tenders for its proposed 190,000 mt/year low-carbon hydrogen project at the Grangemouth refinery and petrochemical plant in Scotland. The plant will be operational by 2030. The project will construct a "world-scale" hydrogen plant with carbon capture and storage facility, producing 130,000-150,000 mt/year from natural gas, and will also capture CO2 from existing hydrogen production of 30,000-40,000 mt/year.

** Poland's PKN Orlen is constructing a hydrogen plant at its Poludnie biorefinery in Trzebinia.

Annual production will be 16 million cu m, and three-quarters of that amount will be used to produce glycol. The remainder will be used to produce 45 kg/h of fuel-grade hydrogen for use in transport.

** Russia's Lukoil said in December 2021 that it has signed memorandum of intent with Rusatom Overseas, part of the Rosatom Group, to cooperate in the production and supply of green hydrogen for the company's Petrotel refinery in Ploesti, Romania.

** Varo Energy's Cressier refinery in Switzerland will use solar panel generated electricity by 19,000 photovoltaic panels for a "significant portion" of the electricity it consumes. Varo Energy Group and Groupe E will build the "most powerful ground-mounted solar facility in Switzerland" with an installed capacity of 7.7 MW. It will be built in the industrial zone east of the refinery. The energy produced from November 2022 onwards will be primarily consumed on site by the refinery. At full power the park will be able to supply more than 60% of the refinery's needs.

** UK's Humber will provide "a number of" British Airways flights with SAF from early 2022. British Airways and Phillips 66 signed a multi-year supply agreement which will provide the airline with SAF produced at the Humber refinery, according to a joint statement.

"The SAF will be produced from sustainable waste feedstock at the Humber Refinery, which will deliver its SAF supply to British Airways via existing pipeline infrastructure that feeds directly into UK airports," the statement said.

Phillips 66 said it secured more than GBP500,000 to switch industrial fired heaters from gas to low carbon hydrogen at its Humber refinery. The company is working with the UK's Gigastack consortium on a project that involves the use of renewable hydrogen at Humber to reduce the carbon content of fuels produced there.

Separately, Phillips 66 said its UK refinery was moving to produce 5,000 b/d renewable diesel by 2024 after expanding capacity to 3,000 b/d from 1,000 b/d. Humber produced 1,000 b/d of renewable diesel in 2020, after starting production in 2019.

** Austrian Airlines will use SAF from OMV's Schwechat refinery. SAF will be available for fueling the airline from March 2022 via a direct pipeline connection to the Vienna international airport. The two companies had agreed on producing and fueling 1,500 mt of SAF in 2022. SAF is produced at Schwechat by co-processing Austrian used cooking oil which makes the production chain "as regional as possible and keeps transport routes to a minimum," the statement said. Austria's OMV plans to build a pilot plant at its Schwechat refinery to produce second-generation biofuels. The plant, which is to start production from 2023, involves "advanced biofuels that are not in competition with foodstuff," the company said. Germany's Chemieanlagenbau Chemnitz, or CAC, said it has been contracted by OMV to build its biofuel plant.

Separately, OMV will build the country's largest electrolysis plant at the Schwechat refinery through a joint investment with Kommunalkredit Austria AG. The plant is expected to start in H2 2023. The 10-MW polymer electrolyte membrane electrolysis will produce up to 1,500 mt/year of green hydrogen.

** ExxonMobil, Macquarie's Green Investment Group, and SGN are studying the potential for a low-carbon hydrogen hub centered around ExxonMobil's Fawley refinery on the UK's south coast. Initial hydrogen production could be around 4.3 TWh/year from 2030. Hydrogen demand in the Southampton industrial cluster around the refinery could reach 37 TWh by 2050. The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the use of low-carbon hydrogen with carbon capture technology for the Southampton industrial cluster.

** Turkey's Tupras plans to focus investments on improving the sustainability of its existing refining operations, developing new biofuel refining capacity, developing zero-carbon electricity sources, and developing production of green hydrogen. Regarding biofuels, Tupras said it planned to invest $230 million by 2026 to convert an unspecified unit at Izmir to produce up to 400,000 mt/year of biofuels from second generation bio-feedstocks. The company said it was aiming for the unit to be operational by 2026, and by 2035 for 75% of its output to be SAF.

** Italy's Saras is working on activating a green hydrogen plant for a total of 20 MW. Saras is building the green hydrogen plant with Italian utility Enel. The hydrogen produced would be used at the Sarroch refinery. It is currently provided by the IGCC complex and two reforming units on the industrial site.

** Gunvor has agreed to partner with petrochemical group Dow to purify pyrolysis oil feedstocks derived from plastic waste, using an existing unit at its refinery site in Rotterdam. The venture will purify pyrolysis oil feedstock derived from plastic waste that are of sufficient quality to produce new polymers. Under the deal, Gunvor will supply cracker-ready feedstock to Dow in Europe from December 2021, which will be used to produce circular plastics for customers. Gunvor's Rotterdam refinery has shuttered its two crude processing units, one in 2019 and the other in 2020, and is developing new processes. Gunvor is studying the potential installation of an HVO unit at the Rotterdam facility.

** Italy's Eni has started producing SAF at its Taranto refinery in southern Italy, as part of its commitment to decarbonize all its products and processes by 2050. Eni plans to double its current bio-refining capacity of 1.1 million mt/year within the next four years and increase it to 5 million-6 million mt/year by 2050.

Eni targets its SAF capacity to reach at least 500,000 mt/year by 2030. Eni said its SAF production will continue to grow in early 2022, with the start-up of over 10,000 mt/year of SAF from its Livorno refinery using bio-components produced in Eni's existing Gela and Venice bio-refineries. In 2024, Eni plans to launch SAF production at the Gela bio-refinery, where a project is underway for a further 150,000 mt/year of SAF production from 100% renewable raw materials by 2025.

** The Refhyne II consortium, developing a 100-MW electrolyzer to produce renewable hydrogen for Shell's Rheinland refinery in Germany at its Wesseling site, has received a Eur32.4 million grant from the EU. The project follows on from the 10-MW Refhyne I at the refinery, Europe's largest proton exchange membrane electrolyzer, which started operations in July 2021, producing up to 1,300 mt/year of renewable hydrogen. The five electrolyzer modules, with a total 10 MW of capacity, have been installed at the Wesseling site. The refinery comprises the Wesseling (south) and Godorf (north) sites. Shell plans to end crude processing at the Wesseling site in 2025. A final investment decision on Refhyne II is expected in late 2022, with delivery scheduled for 2024. Separately, Shell is planning to produce sustainable and synthetic aviation fuel using renewable power and biogenic sources.

** Polish refiner PKN Orlen had approved a Zloty 600 million ($150 million) investment to build a HVO unit to produce biofuels at its Plock refinery. The unit will process used rapeseed oil to produce an additive to diesel or aviation fuel. The annual production of the unit will be 300,000 mt of biodiesel or aviation biofuel.

The start of production is scheduled for mid-2024, PKN said.

** Shell plans to build an 820,000 mt/year biofuel plant in Rotterdam at the site of Europe's biggest refinery, Pernis, to produce SAF and renewable diesel from waste. The plan was announced in July 2021 but there was no final investment decision at the time. The plant is expected to start production in 2024 and will produce low-carbon fuels such as renewable diesel from used cooking oil, waste animal fat, and other industrial and agricultural residual products, using technology developed by Shell, the company said. It said the facility will not use virgin palm oil as a feedstock but will process vegetable oils such as rapeseed to supplement the waste feedstocks "until even more sustainable, advanced feedstocks are widely available."

** Honeywell said that a trial to co-process biomass-based pyrolysis oil in the Lysekil FCC has been completed producing partially renewable transportation fuel. The refinery used Honeywell UOP's proprietary bioliquid feed system. Swedish refiner Preem announced carrying out the first tests at Lysekil to produce renewable gasoline from sawdust as it has started to process pyrolysis oil at the FCC. The tests consist of two parts: an initial batch of 300 mt of pyrolysis oil, followed by a longer test operation that will process up to 50,000 mt of pyrolysis oil for two years. Pyrolysis oil produced from sustainable solid biomass materials such as sawdust or agricultural residuals is a low carbon feedstock suitable for refinery upgrading, Honeywell said. Separately, a study by Preem and state-owned utility Vattenfall has shown "very good conditions" for an electrolysis plant at the Lysekil refinery which will produce hydrogen for biofuels. The companies are studying a 50 MW electrolysis plant "with the ambition of taking the next step in the spring of 2022." The timing of the start-up depends among other things on an environmental assessment. Preem aims to ramp up biofuels production to approximately 5 million cu m/year by 2030, which "requires a large-scale supply of hydrogen, where the expansion of one or more electrolyzers can play an important role." In October 2020, Preem had started a conversion of Lysekil that will make it the biggest producer of renewable fuels in Scandinavia. The company had abandoned an upgrade of the conventional oil refinery. Preem plans to carry out a redevelopment of the existing Synsat plant, which currently produces environmental Class 1 diesel. When the conversion is complete, the plant will have the capacity to process up to 40% of its renewable raw materials, with the ambition to reach higher levels in the long term.

** BP plans to install a hydrogen unit at Spain's Castellon for a 2023 start-up, in conjunction with Spain's Iberdrola and Enagas.

** TotalEnergies has launched a research project with French waste and water utility Veolia to accelerate the development of advanced biofuels made from microalgae fed by CO2, the companies said. Under the agreement, the companies will set up a four-year research and testing project to grow microalgae at TotalEnergies La Mede biorefinery in southern France, with the long-term goal of producing biofuel.

Separately, TotalEnergies will stop using palm oil at La Mede from 2023, according to local media report in the La Provence paper. The biorefinery has already significantly reduced the amount of palm oil it processes from 500,000 mt/year initially to 100,000 mt/year in 2021. Separately, TotalEnergies and utility Engie have signed a cooperation agreement to design, develop, build and operate France's largest renewable hydrogen production site near Total's La Mede biorefinery.

Production could start in 2024.

** Eni said it will build new units at its Porto Marghera biorefinery in Venice which will allow it to "eliminate the use of palm oil in its production of biofuels." From 2023, Eni will no longer use palm oil in its production processes.

The refinery has submitted documentation for an environmental impact assessment for the new units which will allow the treatment of crude vegetable oils, used plant-based cooking oils and used animal fats. Eni is planning further upgrade work on its existing Gela biorefinery on the island of Sicily to boost output of SAF as the EU targets the jet fuel alternative to help achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

Eni is now planning to convert part of the Gela plant to produce 150,000 mt/year of SAF before 2024.

** Germany's Heide refinery aims to scale its 30 MW electrolyzer project to 300 MW by end 2025. The 30 MW pilot project is part of the Westkueste 100 consortium with Orsted, while the 300 MW expansion project is part of the HyScale 100 project. A final investment decision of the 30 MW pilot is to be taken with a view to a 2023 start date. Output from the electrolyzers will replace conventional hydrogen generated on-site. Using hydrogen blended with CO2 to make methanol, the Klesch-owned refinery aims to be supplying 5% of the jet fuel used at the nearby Hamburg airport as SAF by 2024.

** Finland's Neste said it is working on two projects at its Porvoo refinery aimed at developing it into "renewable hydrogen and CO2 utilization as well as advanced biofuels production from lignocellulosic wastes and residues." The project for clean hydrogen and recovery of carbon aims at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by introducing carbon capture and storage at Porvoo as well as "electrolysis solutions that allow decarbonization of production at the refinery." The lignocellulosics project aims to convert "forestry-based waste and residue raw materials into advanced biofuels" at the Porvoo refinery. Neste also said that as part of its aim for 100% renewable electricity globally by 2023 it will increase the use of renewable electricity at its Porvoo refinery. Approximately 40% of the electricity used at the refinery will be renewable wind power in 2025.

** Croatia's INA is looking at potentially developing its Sisak plant into a biorefinery. "The biorefinery is one of the sustainable alternatives planned for the Sisak industrial site," INA said in a statement, adding that the plant could produce second-generation biofuels. The company had previously said it was looking at various options for the conversion of Sisak, including a bitumen production site and logistic hub.

** Green hydrogen company Everfuel is planning a 300 MW electrolyzer project adjacent to the Fredericia refinery in Denmark to supply renewable gas to the plant and for local zero-emission transport by 2025. The HySynergy Phase II plant will send 80% of the hydrogen produced to the refinery for use as a feedstock in the refining process. The remaining 20% will go to hydrogen mobility applications. The commissioning of the plant is expected in late 2024. Shell sold the Fredericia refinery to private investment company Postlane Partners in early 2021. Postlane's development plans for the refinery include co-processing renewable feedstocks and will focus on green hydrogen, and the potential for advanced biofuels.

** In Q1 2021, Polish refiner Grupa Lotos launched its Pure H2 project, which includes the construction of a hydrogen purification unit and a system for supplying hydrogen to vehicles that haul compressed hydrogen. The project is scheduled to be completed in Q4 2023. Lotos plans to build a pilot 100 MW electrolysis installation and 20 MW power generation unit by 2025. The first stage of the investment will be a pilot project in 2020-25, including a 100 MW electrolysis installation, a 20 MW power generation unit, hydrogen storage and fuel cells. The company said its location in Gdansk on the Baltic Sea coastline was favorable for cooperation with planned offshore wind farms to produce renewable hydrogen. In the second stage between 2025-30, Lotos would look to expand the capacity of the electrolysis installation to 1 GW, and the associated gas-fired generation unit to 200 MW. Storage capacity would be increased to 2,500 mt of hydrogen. In a third stage to 2040, Lotos aimed to become the regional leader in the production and distribution of green hydrogen with plans to supply the gas to refineries and power generation plants, as well as injecting hydrogen into the gas grid. The electrolysis installation would be expanded to 4 GW with a 1 GW gas-fired generation unit, it said.

** TotalEnergies plans to produce SAF from its "zero-crude" Grandpuits platform from 2024. The plant will focus also on production of bioplastics, plastics recycling and the operation of two photovoltaic solar power plants. Crude oil refining has been discontinued in 2021 and storage of oil products will end in late 2023.

** TotalEnergies' Antwerp refinery is interested in adding co-processing biofuel units to the refinery. The company said it was considering adding units to its existing refinery. There is no timeline for deciding about the project. De Standard newspaper cited Jacques Beuckelaers, CEO of Total Antwerp, as saying the units would have capacity of 150,000 mt/year and would process cooking oil and animal fats.

** Hungary's MOL has started biodiesel production at the Danube refinery using co-processing technology, with plans to produce more than 100,000 mt/year by 2030.

** Germany's MiRo refinery in Karlsruhe is considering launching production of synthetic fuels, pending approval by the local government. The state of Baden-Wuerttemberg plans a large renewable fuels pilot project at the MiRo refinery.

** TotalEnergies and utility Engie have signed a cooperation agreement to design, develop, build and operate France's largest renewable hydrogen production site near Total's La Mede biorefinery. The Masshylia project at Martigues, west of Marseilles, will be powered by a 100-MW solar farm with a 40-MW electrolyzer set to produce 5 mt/day of green hydrogen to meet the needs of the biofuel production process at Total's nearby biorefinery. Construction will start in 2022 following the completion of the advanced engineering study. Production could start in 2024, subject to financial support and public authorizations.

** Repsol has increased its 2025 and 2030 targets for sustainable biofuel production, targeting 1.3 million mt/year of sustainable biofuel production by 2025 and more than 2 million mt/year by 2030. Of the new production total, up to 250,000 mt/year will be from an advanced biofuels plant at its Cartagena refinery in Spain; up to 130,000 mt/year will be methanol supplied from its new waste pyrolysis plant in Bilbao, and up to 300,000 mt/year will come from debottlenecking activity at all five refineries, in their hydrodesulfurization and hydrotreatment units to produce HVO.

Launches

New and revised entries

** Turkey's Ersan Petrol is still hopeful its plans for a 1.4 million mt/year refinery at Kahramanmaras in southeast Turkey will be able to go ahead despite repeated delays and a difficult investment climate. Project coordinator Cenk Pala said Ersan was in talks with prospective partners and sources of finance for the project and hopes to start work on the FEED study this year. The refinery is planned for a 300,000 sq m site in Kahramanmaras which holds a defunct mini refinery that will be dismantled. A pre-feasibility study by Axens has defined the configuration and capacity of the plant which will produce mainly Euro 5 diesel, Euro 5 gasoline, jet and bitumen.

Existing entries

** A new greenfield Porto Romano refinery in Albania will be predominantly oriented to export markets but will also be able to cover Albania's domestic demand, Helmut Mayrhofer, Consultant at Larkalis said. Austria-based consultancy Larkalis is leading an international consortium working on the project which will involve building the refinery in the port town of Durres. The refinery has a two-year construction authorization and could be commissioned by end-2025, dependent on international developments.

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