London — Maintenance and run cuts continue to define the current status of European refineries due to slumping demand as national lockdowns largely remain in place.
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Meanwhile some countries are gradually starting to relax restrictions imposed to combat the coronavirus spread.
--ExxonMobil's French sites Gravenchon and Fos and some inland German refineries including Miro have cut runs. Meanwhile Gravenchon has begun to halt some units.
--France's Grandpuits and Feyzin have not restarted after maintenance.
--Italian oil giant Eni said its refineries in Italy were running at around 60% of capacity. It is operating the Livorno, Taranto and Sannazzaro plants. According to local media, the Sannazzaro refinery in the north is running at an average of 50% of total capacity and has postponed some of its maintenance. The Taranto refinery in southern Italy is running at approximately 65%. API's refinery in the Italian coastal town of Falconara Marittima has gone fully offline. Sonatrach's Augusta plant is currently running at 70-80% of full capacity. The Milazzo refinery on Sicily has reduced output to 60% of capacity. ISAB will likely postpone its plans to carry out maintenance and upgrades over March-April. A two-month maintenance at the Sarroch refinery began in March and is expected to last until end May. Italian demand for refined products in March plunged 31%, or 1.49 million mt year on year, to 3.3 million mt due to a slump in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting lockdown. In April, refined product demand is expected to drop more than 50% year on year, according to industry body UP.
--The Sarpom refinery in Trecate, Italy is currently carrying out maintenance and upgrades on the plant's cooling towers. A fire that broke out in that section of the complex was promptly put out and had no effect on the refinery's operations and production.
-- Italy's Marghera will be offline for 20 days from April 23. Porto Marghera was the world's first conversion of a conventional refinery to a biorefinery.
--In Spain, refinery operators have trimmed rates to meet demand, while the Coruna refinery, due to return from a regular maintenance in March is still offline. Gasoline demand in the week April 13 through April 19 was down 81% on an annualized basis, while diesel demand was down 55% and jet fuel demand down 93%.
--Galp has temporarily suspended fuel production at the Matosinhos refinery in Portugal, and will temporarily suspend operations at its larger Sines refinery for around a month from May 4. The market conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in technical restrictions in the refinery system, operated by subsidiary Petrogal, and inventories are rapidly approaching their upper limit, the company said. This could affect the minimum levels at which the refineries can operate, leading the company to take the decision to halt the plant, which underwent a major regular maintenance in the first quarter that included the 43,000 b/d hydrocracker. Latest data from Portuguese national fuel agency Direcao Geral de Energia e Geologia (DGEG) shows that gasoline demand fell 25% year on year in March, while jet fuel demand fell 35% and bunker fuel demand 28%, with lockdown measures coming into effect from March 18.
--In the Netherlands, Gunvor postponed the start of planned work at its Rotterdam site, and subsequently the restart of one of the two CDUs. Finland's Neste has also deferred planned maintenance. Norway's Mongstad, has decided to postpone maintenance work originally scheduled to take place in May.
--The Netherlands' Pernis brought its maintenance forward to mid-April
--Germany's Schwedt will go ahead with planned maintenance.
--Germany's Ingolstadt and the Neustadt site of Bayernoil restarted after maintenance, while the country's Heide refinery said it was "currently running without restrictions." Production was continuing "as usual" at two refineries in Sweden -- Gothenburg and Lysekil and at Swiss Cressier.
--ExxonMobil's refineries in the UK and the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub have put business continuity plans in place to deal with potential disruption.
--Israel's Bazan, which operates the Haifa refinery, said that due to lower demand for gasoline, it has reduced the volumes of gasoline it imports. In addition, Bazan said it had managed to "divert some of the diesel quantities from the domestic market to the export markets in which it operates and also made adjustments in production volumes to meet demand levels."
--Planned maintenance has been completed at Germany's Bayernoil, the UK's Fawley, France's Lavera and Croatia's Rijeka.
--Hungary's MOL said its three refineries, in Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia are running but at reduced rates.
--Turkey's Izmir refinery in Aliaga is likely to halt due to weak demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to trading sources. Tupras declined to comment. In a statement to the stock exchange, the company amended its 2020 expectations, with refinery production expected to fall from 28 million mt to 24 million mt and sales from 29 million mt to 25 million mt. It also expects 80-85% utilization rate, compared with 95%-100% previously. Tupras operates four refineries in Turkey, Izmir, Izmit, Kirikkale and Batman, which produces mostly low grade non transport fuels. Meanwhile, Socar is maintaining full production levels at its STAR refinery at Aliaga in Turkey, although with an altered product portfolio, a company spokesman said. "For the time being production volumes are unchanged but we don't know how long that will continue, we'll have to see what happens," he told S&P Global Platts. The spokesman confirmed that jet production has been halted and diesel production increased to compensate.
--Austria's OMV said that its refineries "have adapted to the circumstances" in view of lower demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The company said that figures about refinery utilization will be published in its next quarterly reports. It operates Schwechat in Austria, Burghausen in Germany and Petrobrazi in Romania. Market sources say the refineries have reduced throughput.
NEW AND ONGOING MAINTENANCE, UPGRADES
Near term maintenance
New and revised entries
--Germany's Leuna is preparing for a general maintenance as well as the start of upgrade in the autumn of 2020, due to last between four and six weeks, according to local media reports and trading sources. The maintenance would involve works on replacing six reactors and building a new cooling system. Work would also continue in 2021 and by the end of next year the project will be completed. Total said in 2019 that it would invest Eur150 million ($166.5 million) in the refinery over 2020-2021 to reduce production of heavy products as demand decreases, and increase production of methanol, an important feedstock for the chemical industry. The project will deepen the integration of refining and petrochemical operations and increase the competitiveness of the plant, Total said. Methanol production will increase by 20% as a result of higher output from the visbreaker unit and an upgrade of the POX/methanol plant. Work will continue until 2021, with the bulk carried out in a major shutdown of the refinery in 2020, which will also cost around Eur150 million.
--The Wesseling part of the Rhineland refinery carried out short works. The works, which could cause noise and flaring, lasted over April 14-21. It previously carried out planned maintenance between March 30 and April 3. The 327,000 b/d refinery consists of the Wesseling site in the south and Godorf in the north. The refinery is currently producing disinfectants at its training center to contribute in the fight against the spread of coronavirus.
--Shell's Pernis refinery in the Netherlands said in mid-April it was ready to start its scheduled maintenance. The company previously said it was going to start works in mid-April, bringing them forward from the original plan for maintenance to start May 4 through June. Extra precautions have been taken to prevent the coronavirus spread, the refinery said, including working 1.5 meters apart and in small teams.
--Italy's Sarroch refinery in Sardinia is currently operating normally, a company spokesperson said, following an incident in mid-April involving a blockage at one of its units that caused flaring and dense black smoke. It has been running its refinery operations as usual while carrying out planned maintenance in the plant's topping V1 unit and on the FCC gasoline production plant. The maintenance is expected to end at the end of May, traders said. Due to the maintenance, gasoline output is affected but there is also a bit less production of diesel, according to traders. The refinery is currently also not producing any jet fuel. Sarroch started a two-month maintenance cycle in March. At the time, Saras, which owns the refinery, announced Sarroch's fluid catalytic cracker, alkylation unit, topping 1 plant were undergoing works. Saras also said routine maintenance would be carried out on its MHC2 unit, its visbreaking plant and its U400 and U500 units as part of the maintenance cycle.
--Italy's Taranto refinery is currently running at about 65% of full production levels because of the slump in demand for refined products resulting from lockdown measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, a source close to the refinery said. The refinery was fully restarted in mid-March following approximately four weeks of scheduled maintenance and upgrade work starting in February, according to the source, though in the interim non-essential plants have been turned on and off so as to keep production levels low. The plant reduced its production capacity to 65% after April 6, the source said, without providing details.
--Turkey's Izmir refinery in Aliaga is likely to halt on weak demand, trading sources said. In its latest financial report, Tupras said that work on the crude unit at Izmir, which started late last year, was set to continue for six weeks into Q1. Separately, the refinery plans works on the continuous catalytic reformer for three weeks in Q1 and seven weeks in Q4, on the FCC unit for six weeks in Q1, on the isomerization unit for eight weeks in Q4 and on the MQD diesel desulfurization unit for seven weeks in Q4. Tupras said in an investor presentation that three of its four refineries are planning works over the course of 2020. Work on the crude oil and vacuum unit at Batman is set to last five weeks over Q1 and Q2 and work on the desulfurizer at Izmit will last seven weeks over the fourth quarter.
--ExxonMobil's Gravenchon refinery halted some units between April 12-18, it said on the AlloIndustrie site. The shutdown could result in flaring. Previously the company said in late March that throughput at its two French refineries, Gravenchon and Fos, has been reduced "to adapt to the decreasing French demand during the COVID-19 pandemic".
--Germany's Schwedt is preparing for a spring maintenance, according to local media reports. The turnaround would involve works on the visbreaker, high conversion cracking (HSC) and diesel hydrotreater units, which will be carried out between April 23 and the end of May. The works will be carried out under tightened security measures and precautions due to the coronavirus but they are urgently required and hence cannot be postponed, the report quoted the refinery as saying.
--Galp will temporarily suspend operations at its larger Sines refinery for approximately one month from May 4, having already cut output at its smaller Matosinhos refinery, the company said.
--Italy's ISAB refinery in Sicily will likely postpone its plans to carry out maintenance and upgrades over March-April because of the nationwide lockdown in Italy, which bans all but the most essential activities to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
--Norway's Mongstad will postpone works initially planned on its crude unit May 13-June 2, the company said.
--A programmed halt between January and the end of March, which included the finalization of three CO2 emission reduction projects at the 1.7 million cu m/year fluid catalytic cracker among other work, was ongoing in early April at Spain's Coruna, the company said.
--The restart of France's Grandpuits refinery has been delayed due to reduced demand. The refinery halted production at the start of March for maintenance at some units. The restart has been delayed with only partial operations going on.
--API's refinery in the Italian coastal town of Falconara Marittima went fully offline in early April after starting to wind down operations on March 30 in a bid to offset a decline in demand for refined products caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to information provided to S&P Global Platts. Falconara had only returned to full operations in early March after a 40-day turnaround that began on January 25. In mid-March it started reducing output.
--Eni's Sannazzaro de Burgondi refinery in Northern Italy was undergoing maintenance started in early March involving "units internal to the refinery," an Eni spokesperson said. In line with the government decree aimed at combating the spread of the coronavirus, all non-essential work, such as the Eni slurry technology unit maintenance, had been suspended, the spokesperson said. The refinery had planned to undergo maintenance including a large portion of the plant as well as restart Sannazzaro's slurry technology unit which had been offline since a fire in 2016, a source said. The refinery's EST unit was supposed to go back online after repair and maintenance work planned through to the end of March, according to the original plans, the source said. These plans had now been delayed and it was not yet clear when it would be restarted. Meanwhile, local media reported that Sannazzaro was running at around 50% of capacity.
--Gunvor said it has decided to delay the turnaround at its Rotterdam refinery. "The unpredictable spread of COVID-19, in combination with regulations and strict safety measures, have resulted in a situation that makes it impossible to perform the originally planned work in a way that ensures the health and safety of all those involved in this complex and critical work, as we would be welcoming more people on site," it said. The company is currently working to determine the timeframe of the turnaround. Gunvor halted CDU1 in November for economic reasons and also to prepare for an upcoming turnaround in March, it said previously.
--Petronor said at Bilbao it has taken offline its 2 million mt/year coker unit and related units for an unscheduled maintenance halt. The unit was recently taken offline in February for a scheduled maintenance. The refinery also halted the visbreaking unit of plant 3 during April 6.
--Planned maintenance at France's Feyzin refinery was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. The petrochemical part of the plant was operating normally, a source said. Work at Feyzin started on February 14 and was due to last around seven weeks, Total said previously.
--Repairs on a CDU that went offline at Gonfreville in mid-December following a fire had been halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, with only a few units that produce road fuels still in operation, a source said. Total said previously that the CDU, which was damaged in December following a fire at a pump feeding crude oil, will restart before the end of the year.
--Sonatrach's Augusta refinery, Sicily, had routine maintenance scheduled for its reformer in the next few months involving the planned substitution of the unit's catalyzers, sources close to the refinery told Platts. Augusta plant is currently running at 70-80% of its full capacity.
--Neste said its Porvoo refinery's major turnaround in 2020 would now be delayed due to the coronavirus situation and only critical maintenance work could be carried out over April-June. The turnaround was originally scheduled for the second quarter and was to have taken about 11 weeks to complete. Neste said the government had declared a state of emergency in Finland due to the outbreak. The refiner said the turnaround would need to be carried out in phases. "Based on the current estimate, only the most business critical maintenance work and regulatory inspections can be carried out in April-June 2020, instead of the planned major turnaround," it said. "Regarding the rest of the maintenance work and investments, the planning of the turnaround will be restarted. The new execution schedule will be defined by the end of Q3 2020."
--Romania's Petromidia is carrying out cheduled maintenance between March 13 and April 30. Separately, the Vega speciality site will also reduce runs for turnaround work due to the reduction in feedstocks delivered from Petromidia.
--Greek refiner Hellenic said it will carry out works on its Aspropyrgos refinery in Q3 2020.
--The Netherlands' Zeeland refinery in Flushing is expected to start its planned maintenance around May, according to sources. During the maintenance it is expected to complete the upgrade of its hydrocracker. The refinery received last summer the third reactor for the hydrocracker's expansion. It started work in June 2018 on the expansion which includes adding a third reactor. The reactor will be connected to the existing installation in 2020.
--Spain's Castellon has two planned maintenance periods during 2020. The first, scheduled for May will last two to three weeks and affect two distillation units, the Powerformer 1 and the HVN. In November, a second maintenance is scheduled for two to three weeks, affecting one conversion unit (treatment plant) and the 1.4 million mt/year coker.
--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.
--The next large-scale maintenance at France's Grandpuits will be held in 2021, the refinery said. 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.
--Neste said its Porvoo refinery's major turnaround in 2020 would now be delayed due to the coronavirus situation and only critical maintenance work could be carried out over April-June. "The rest of the turnaround work is expected to be finalized in 2021," Neste added.
--Germany's Mineraloelraffinerie Oberrhein (Miro) will carry out a major turnaround in 2021. It will invest Eur300 million ($332.6 million), with two-thirds going on new projects and a third for upgrading the existing plants during the turnaround.
--Lukoil's Neftochim refinery in Burgas, Bulgaria, is planning a major turnaround in 2021. The refinery typically carries out works around February-March.
--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.
New and revised entries
--Germany's Leuna is preparing for a general maintenance as well as the start of upgrade in the autumn of 2020, due to last between four and six weeks, according to local media report and trading sources. The maintenance would involve works on replacing six reactors and building a new cooling system. Work would also continue in 2021 and by the end of next year the project will be completed. Total said in 2019 that it would invest Eur150 million ($166.5 million) at its Leuna refinery in Germany over 2020-2021 to reduce production of heavy products as demand decreases, and increase production of methanol, an important feedstock for the chemical industry. The project will deepen the integration of refining and petrochemical operations and increase the competitiveness of the plant, Total said. Methanol production will increase by 20% as a result of higher output from the visbreaker unit and an upgrade of the POX/methanol plant. Work will continue until 2021, with the bulk carried out in a major shutdown of the refinery in 2020, which will also cost around Eur150 million.
--Romania's Petromidia is 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. Dewaxing units are used for the production of winter grade diesel. The integration of the new dewaxing unit will also "allow an increase in the production of aviation jet fuel," it said. 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".
--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.
--Greece's Motor Oil Hellas said that in 2020 it expected high capital expenditure "as the project of the new naphtha treatment complex [total budget Eur310 million] has already entered the construction phase." MOH said in 2019 that the new complex, which will contribute to increased production of gasoline, kerosene and hydrogen, is scheduled for completion in 2021. In January, the company awarded an EPC contract to TechnipFMC for the construction of a new naphtha treatment complex at its Corinth refinery, according to a TechnipFMC statement. The 22,000 b/d complex comprises a naphtha hydrotreater, a platformer and an isomerization unit, the statement said.
--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.
--Poland's second largest refiner Grupa Lotos said the modernization of the hydrogen recovery unit to increase the production of hydrogen, LPG and naphtha is scheduled to be completed in the first half of this year. It is also looking at developing a hydrocracker unit for the production of base oils.
-- An expansion of Preem's Lysekil refinery near Brofjorden, Sweden, is pending upon decision of the Land and Environment Court of Appeal as well as the government, according to a report by Radio Sweden. The potential increase of carbon emissions could have an impact on the final decision. Separately, Swedish refiner Preem is "evaluating a potential investment in a residue hydrocracking plant" at the Lysekil refinery.
--PKN had signed an agreement with KTI Poland and IDS-BUD for the design, delivery and building of a visbreaker at its Plock refinery. The project, set to be completed by the end of 2022, will have a capacity to produce 200,000 mt/year of diesel, CEO Daniel Obajtek said. Obajtek said PKN's ongoing modernization of the hydrocracking and diesel hydrodesulfurization units at Plock will also increase the refinery's diesel production capacity by 250,000 mt/year. The modernization was expected to be completed by the end of this year.
--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 will start production from the middle of 2020 by which time its reconstruction will be completed. The refinery is currently being reconstructed. A pipeline, currently 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 currently 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).
--Germany's Schwedt is upgrading its aromatics complex.
--The Netherlands' Zeeland refinery has had the third reactor for the hydrocracker's expansion delivered. The refinery started work mid-2018 on an expansion of the hydrocracker, by working to add the third reactor. The reactor will be connected to the existing installation in 2020.
--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.
--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 currently 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.
--Dutch Hes International (former Hestya Energy) aims to start operations at the LSFO plant at the currently closed Wilhelmshaven refinery in Germany in Q1 2020, it said. The Netherlands-based company had previously said it would operate the VDU unit under a tolling agreement. According to traders, the vacuum distillation unit will be used for producing low sulfur fuel oil to meet the 2020 International Maritime Organization requirement for low sulfur bunker fuel. ConocoPhillips sold the facility on Germany's North Sea coast to Hestya in 2011. The refinery has been idle since October 2009 when it was mothballed on poor margins after a maintenance program was completed on the site.
--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.