Register with us today

and in less than 60 seconds continue your access to:Latest news headlinesAnalytical topics and featuresCommodities videos, podcast & blogsSample market prices & dataSpecial reportsSubscriber notes & daily commodity email alerts

Already have an account?

Log in to register

Forgot Password

Please Note: Platts Market Center subscribers can only reset passwords via the Platts Market Center

Enter your Email ID below and we will send you an email with your password.

  • Email Address* Please enter email address.

If you are a premium subscriber, we are unable to send you your password for security reasons. Please contact the Client Services team.

If you are a Platts Market Center subscriber, to reset your password go to the Platts Market Center to reset your password.

In this list

Refinery news roundup: Some autumn works continue in Europe

Commodities | Energy | Oil | Crude Oil | Refined Products | Coronavirus

Libyan oil exports briefly pick up, NOC gears up for cautious return


Platts Market Data – Oil

Oil | Refined Products | Fuel Oil | Shipping | Dry Freight | Marine Fuels | Tankers

Mediterranean Bunker Fuel Conference, 9th Annual

Oil | Crude Oil

OPEC, OPEC+ set meetings for June 6 to finalize oil cut extension

Refinery news roundup: Some autumn works continue in Europe

London — With the launch of some upgrades at European refineries now completed, attention was shifting to incidents and scheduled maintenance, as well as to the release of Q3 financial reports.

Not registered?

Receive daily email alerts, subscriber notes & personalize your experience.

Register Now

Production at Italy's ISAB refinery has not been affected by a fire at the Cr35 unit in the North plant, the company said. The North plant has been offline for maintenance that began mid-October.

Separately, PKN Orlen said it has bought a 130,000 mt cargo of Murban crude from the UAE, its first from that country, which is due to arrive at Gdansk Naftoport at the turn of November/December. PKN sources 70% of its crude feedstock under long-term contracts from Russia. It also buys 300,000 mt/month under a long-term contract with Saudi Aramco.

Poland's second-largest refiner, Grupa Lotos, said it took advantage of the favorable market environment in the third quarter and ran its Gdansk refinery at full utilization. Throughput increased 0.2% year on year and 6% quarter on quarter to 2.79 million mt, Lotos said in a presentation on its Q3 results.

Austrian company OMV said it expected refining margins this year to "be lower than in 2017," while petrochemical margins were forecast "to be at a similar level to those in 2017."

The utilization rate at its three refineries was above 90% despite the planned turnaround at Petrobrazi, which was completed in the second quarter.

Elsewhere, operations at Germany's Rhineland refinery have not been affected by a leak on a pipeline at the Godorf site, the company said Wednesday. The plant said on its website that the soil around the pipe had been contaminated by mineral oil products, though the area was subsequently cleaned and the damaged pipe taken out of service. According to local media, the product was kerosene.

Tupras' total production in the third quarter was 7.690 million mt, up 0.3% year on year and up 23.8% form the second quarter, Turkey's sole refiner said in a statement. Tupras attributed the sharp increase in production to the completion of planned maintenance and a return to full production capacity. Tupras previously said maintenance on the crude unit and hydrocracker at the company's 220,000 b/d Izmir refinery caused capacity utilization to fall to 85.2%.


-- A technical glitch at BP Rotterdam has resulted in the company offering some crude on the market, according to market sources Tuesday. According to sources a CDU has experienced a glitch.

Oilgram News

Platts Oilgram News brings fast-breaking global petroleum and natural gas news every day covering supply and demand trends, corporate news, government actions, exploration, technology, and much more. Click on the link below and we will set you up with a free trial.

Free Trial

-- The crude distillation unit 1 at Germany's Schwedt, halted following a fire at a pump in late September, has been back in production since mid-October and was back to full capacity, the company said. Separately, the refinery recently received the first new column for its CDU 3 and expected to start upgrading the unit. The project is part of a major turnaround in 2019. During the turnaround, the CDU 3 will be taken out of service for four weeks during which time the new equipment will be integrated.

-- Hungary's MOL said it has restarted its Tiszaujvaros steam cracker after a turnaround. MOL said unplanned hydrocracker maintenance at its Bratislava plant had also been completed. The maintenance, which was carried out in the third quarter, was completed in September. It had previously said the maintenance would affect diesel production volumes. Hungary's MOL also said it now planned a major shutdown at the Rijeka refinery in Q1 2019, rather than Q4 this year as previously planned.

-- Portugal's Porto has been restarted after scheduled maintenance, CEO Carlos Gomes da Silva said. Market sources reported last week that the refinery had been exporting fuel oil again after completing the work. The maintenance work began in September, according to the company, which did not provide further details regarding the units affected during the halt.

-- Operations at Petromidia refinery and the petrochemical division will be halted until November 15 for scheduled maintenance, the company said. Production at the Vega speciality site will also be reduced. "This scheduled technical maintenance is important for the maintenance of the refineries and of the petrochemical division at optimal production capacities, but also for the creation of the necessary framework for future investments. In addition, this will allow the uninterrupted operation of the production installations within the Petormidia refinery until 2020, when the 4-year general overhaul is scheduled," Yedil Utekov, the General Manager of Rompetrol Rafinare, said. The maintenance will aim at the implementation of 22 investment projects at Petromidia and 5 in Vega, as well as checking and inspecting "of over 830 of pipes and equipment under pressure in the Petromidia and 283 in Vega". Part of the works will involve replacement of the stripping column at the DGRS - gas desulfurisation and sulfur recovery unit at Petromidia. Two columns will be replaced at the rectification unit at Vega. -- ExxonMobil's Rotterdam plant began the start-up of facilities, the company said in early November. Works started at the end of August, involving "several units", the company said previously.

-- The first units at the Horst part of the Gelsenkirchen refinery have been restarted, the company said in early November. It also said that the restarting process "runs step by step." The plant started large-scale maintenance at the end of August. The refinery consists of the Horst and Scholven sites, with Horst representing around one third of the capacity. Scholven carried out partial works earlier this year, which ended in early June.


-- Finland's Neste said that "scheduled unit maintenances" will have a negative impact of approximately Eur 50 million (about $57 million) on the comparable operating profit in Q4. It did not specify which units will be affected. Neste said in Q3 its refineries operated at 97% utilization rate.

-- Portugal's Galp Energia said that the 35,000 b/d fluid catalytic cracker at its Sines refinery was halted in mid October for scheduled maintenance. The unit is expected to be back online in early December, a Galp spokesman said. The works will include a catalyst being changed, the company previously said. Separately, Galp's Porto is back in the market, exporting fuel oil, after completing its planned maintenance, which started October 1, according to market sources Thursday. The company was not immediately available to comment.

-- Lukoil's ISAB refinery in southern Italy started to take its North plant offline on October 15 in preparation for 53 days of planned maintenance and upgrade works at the North site, union sources said. The company was not available to comment. The maintenance had originally been scheduled to take place between March and April, the source said, adding the work, of a type carried out every 10 years, will cost Eur110 million ($128 million).

-- Germany's Bayernoil remains offline following an incident on September 1. The refinery was halted following an explosion in a unit at the Vohburg site and a subsequent fire in the early hours of September 1. Bayernoil consists of the Vohburg and Neustadt sites, which are closely interconnected. Market sources said they expected the refinery to remain offline for the time being.

-- A planned turnaround was underway at several units of the Fawley, UK, refinery and petrochemical site was expected to be completed by the end of November, the company said. Traders said the refinery has prepared stocks ahead of the works and deliveries have not been affected. -- Milazzo has started running a maintenance cycle on its diesel hydrocracker unit in late September. Works on this plant are expected to last some 20 days, during which time the unit will be offline. The hydrocracker unit was already offline when the maintenance started, after being halted when the refinery experienced operational problems at some of its units in mid-September due to issues with the plant's power system. -- The Holborn refinery, near Hamburg, northern Germany, which started its turnaround in early September, was not expected back until the end of October, according to traders. The maintenance was expected to be completed around mid-October, but the restart will be delayed, they said. The refinery carries out major works every five years.

-- Italy's Augusta refinery in Sicily has scheduled a turnaround starting in January which will see the plant intermittently offline over 3-1/2 months, union sources said. "The maintenance work is scheduled and carried out every three to four years," a source said. One of the units which will be upgraded and worked on is the topping plant, the source said. Separately, the refinery may have had an issue that could have caused the shutdown of a unit, most likely a CDU, according to trading sources. Trade union sources said the plant was running as normal. ExxonMobil said earlier this year it was selling the plant to Algerian state energy company Sonatrach, together with three associated fuel terminals and related pipeline infrastructure. The sale was scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, with ownership being transferred in early 2019.

-- Italian oil major Eni said in its second-quarter earnings report it expected refining throughput to be flat this year compared with 2017. The forecast was based on a "better performance" at its Sannazzaro and Livorno refineries in 2018 after unplanned shutdowns in 2017. Sannazzaro was scheduled to restart it EST unit, which has been offline since suffering a fire in 2016, at the end of 2018, while Livorno had downtime last year. This year so far Milazzo, partly owned by Eni, had some FCC works and was due to carry out maintenance on its gasoline plants between October and November, when the entire plant will be offline for a few weeks. Meanwhile, Sannazzaro has been carrying out maintenance on its EST unit, "and the schedule foresees their completion by 2018," a source said. Eni had previously scheduled a maintenance cycle to be carried out on the refinery in the late autumn, around November, which was separate and was still planned, a trade union source said.

-- Israel's refiner Bazan said utilization in Q2 was down slightly at 95% compared to last year's 98% level due to maintenance at the Haifa refinery's crude unit 3 and the hydrocracker. The maintenance began during the second quarter which was due to be completed in the current quarter.

-- Italian refiner Saras said its 2018 maintenance has been "substantially completed". The only scheduled activity for the rest of the year was catalytic reformer maintenance. It also expected refinery runs in a range of 13.8 million-14.2 million mt (100 million-105 million barrels) in 2018, from 2017 levels of 14.06 million mt. Saras's performance in the first six months of the year was impacted by maintenance and upgrade works on CDU units T1, T2 and RT2, on its vacuum distillation V2, its visbreaker and its mild hydrocracking unit 2. In addition, maintenance work was carried out on its North Plant.



-- Repsol's CEO Josu Jon Imaz spoke to analysts on a conference call and outlined preliminary refinery maintenance plans for 2019, without elaborating further. The plans include works on FCC, VDU at A Coruna; FCC at Petronor, Bilbao; hydrotreatment unit and hydrocracker at Cartagena; cracker at Tarragona.

-- The crude distillation unit 1 at Germany's Schwedt, which was halted following a fire at a pump in late September, is back in production since mid October and is back to full capacity. MH0100

-- Germany's Schwedt recently received the first new column for its CDU 3 and expected to start upgrading the unit. The project is part of a major turnaround in 2019. During the turnaround, the CDU 3 will be taken out of service for four weeks during which time the new equipment will be integrated.


-- Spain's Cepsa has moved a step closer to permanent closure of its refinery on Tenerife after signing an agreement with the regional authorities of Santa Cruz, Tenerife to transform the site into a mixture of public space and realty. The complex, which has been in operation for nearly 90 years refined its last barrel in 2014, having been previously idled in 2013 for "economic reasons." The company did not provide a time frame for the dismantling or other details regarding the transfer of its other operations at the site.

-- Italian refinery Saras has scheduled maintenance on various units which will be offline intermittently in the first half of 2019. Separately Saras plans large-scale maintenance in 2020, carried out in a six-year turnaround cycle. It will also carry out maintenance and upgrade works on the 90,000 b/d FCC plant in 2020 and expand on current plans to boost its sea jetty through 2021 to make the refinery more flexible and open it up to receiving different types of crudes from around the world, a labor union source said.

-- The next large-scale maintenance at Italy's Milazzo will be in 2019.

-- In spring 2019, a turnaround is scheduled at Sweden's Gothenburg refinery for regeneration of the reformer unit, inspection of the ISOGHT unit, decoking of CDU1, and a change of catalyst in the DHT 3, ISOM, GHT, ISOGHT. The next major turnaround at Gothenburg will be in 2021.

-- The next major turnaround at Sweden's Lysekil will be in autumn 2019. After 2019, the company plans to run the major turnarounds every six years but with a total refinery shutdown every three years to perform catalyst change-outs and cleaning/decoking of necessary units.

-- The next major maintenance at France's Gonfreville is planned for 2019.

-- The next major maintenance at the Netherlands' Zeeland will be in 2020.

-- Romania's Petrobrazi will undergo its next big turnaround in 2022.



-- Germany's Schwedt recently received the first new column for its CDU 3 and expected to start upgrading the unit. The project is part of a major turnaround in 2019. During the turnaround, the CDU 3 will be taken out of service for four weeks during which time the new equipment will be integrated.

-- Poland's second-largest refiner Grupa Lotos said that the delayed coker unit at its Gdansk refinery should reach ready-for-startup date by May 31, 2019. The announcement of the deadline follows the conclusion of negotiations with the general contractor, Kinetics Technology. Earlier Lotos announced that commissioning work was under way at the hydrogen generation unit (HGU) and the hydro wax vacuum distillation unit (HVDU) at its Gdansk refinery, two of the three main components of its EFRA modernization program, which is now 96.3% complete. "The HVDU unit, following completion of a warranty test run, was placed in service and operates under the load required by the refinery's day to day needs," Lotos said. The HGU unit, as well as the tanks for the delayed coking unit (DCU) intermediate products and new inter-unit connections, were declared ready for testing in Q3, the company said. -- ExxonMobil has started at the end of October the new delayed coker at the Antwerp refinery. The unit will "convert heavy, higher-sulfur residual oils into high-value transportation fuels such as marine gasoil and diesel," the company said. The unit "expands the refinery's capacity to meet demand for cleaner transportation fuels throughout northwest Europe". It will also help meet the "anticipated demand" for lower sulfur fuel following the International Maritime Organization's 2020 marine fuel sulfur cap. Other projects in Antwerp include a 130-MW cogeneration unit, which helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and a diesel hydrotreater.

-- The delayed coker at the Pancevo refinery, currently under construction, will be launched in Q3 2019, Kirill Tyurdenev, the managing director of NIS, said in Gazprom Neft's in house magazine. As a result the depth of processing will reach 99.2% and the refinery will produce 500,000 mt more light products. The Nelson index will in crease to 9.6. In 2012 it was 4.9 and increased to 8.5 after the launch of the mild hydrocracker-hydrotreater (MHT/DHT) complex. The light products yield would increase from 75% to 85%. Gazprom Neft has previously said that the delayed coker will have 2,000 mt/day capacity. The delayed coker is a key project in the refinery's second stage of modernization. As part of the first stage it launched in 2012 a mild hydrocracker and hydrotreater which allowed it to start producing Euro 5 motor fuel.


-- Cepsa said it will carry out upgrades to its aromax, hydrocracker and FCC units at Huelva in 2019. It is also carrying out an aromatics optimization project at the refinery, which will improve integration with its nearby chemicals installations at Palos de la Frontera.

-- Cepsa is to revamp Isomax, fluid catalytic cracker, alkylation units and construct a methylene unit (Sorbex II) at San Roque which will double production capacity, investing as much as Eur1 billion through to the end of 2019 as it aims to boost conversion rate and improve technology and sustainability.

-- The startup of the upgraded vacuum distillation unit at the Castellon refinery began in September, a spokesman for the company said. The company has not specified when it will reach full capacity, although full start-up was slated for this second half of 2018. The improved VDU will result in increased output of diesel and fuel oil and increase the utilization rates of the vacuum unit and coker, the company said previously. The tie-ins for the unit were carried out in a previous refinery halt last year, meaning the unit should be ready to operate once the work is concluded.

-- ExxonMobil said it was considering "significant upgrades" at its Fawley plant aimed to help meet UK demand for high quality fuels. A final decision was not expected until the second quarter of 2019 and, if approved, the investment would reduce the need for diesel imports into the UK, the company said. The project involves construction of a new hydrotreater and a new hydrogen plant. ExxonMobil is in the process of filing all appropriate permits and planning applications. "If this project is approved, it would be a major investment in the site amounting to hundreds of millions of pounds, and a bold statement of confidence in Fawley and its ability to produce high quality fuels for the UK economy," the Fawley refinery manager Simon Downing said in the statement, adding: "We hope to make our final investment decision in the first half of 2019."

-- ExxonMobil's refinery in Rotterdam is currently working on a new hydrocracker.

-- The Netherlands' Zeeland is starting work on an expansion of the hydrocracker, due for completion in 2020.

-- Total is considering building intermediate feedstock desulfurization units and a hydrogen unit at France's Donges, but the investment depends on rerouting a railroad track that currently crosses the refinery.

-- Croatia's INA has been building a delayed coker at Rijeka, due for completion in 2021. Meanwhile, the company has been working on organizational changes for its two refineries, Rijeka and Sisak, which include the shutdown of the Sisak FCC and transportation of semi-finished product between Rijeka and Sisak.

-- Poland's Plock refinery aims to complete a new visbreaker unit by the end of 2020.

-- 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.

-- Swedish refiner Preem said it planned two new units to start up at its refineries in 2019 ahead of the new International Maritime Organization sulfur regulations. A new vacuum distillation will start up at Lysekil in Q1, 2019, and at its Gothenburg refinery, it plans to start up a new hydrogen unit, also in Q1, 2019.


-- Socar will commence product sales from its newly commissioned 214,000 b/d STAR refinery at Aliaga on Turkey's Aegean coast in December, a company official told S&P Global Platts. The refinery is currently ramping up its test production and is expected to reach full capacity early in 2019, the official said. Deliveries of naphtha to the adjacent Petkim petrochemical plant are also expected to start in December he said, adding that Petkim is currently on a scheduled maintenance shutdown. The official also confirmed that the refinery expects to receive its third delivery of crude in November but was unable to identify the expected source, confirming only that the refinery has signed an agreement with Socar's trading arm to conduct crude purchasing on its behalf and that the refinery itself will not be directly involved in crude purchases. According to previous statements by Socar officials the start of commercial production will be followed by a steady ramp-up of output expected to reach full capacity by January 2019.

-- Dutch Hestya Energy said it has decided to operate one of the available units at the currently closed Wilhelmshaven refinery in Germany under a tolling agreement. The company declined to provide details of the agreement "in the interest of our customer". According to traders, the vacuum distillation unit was likely to be restarted in 2019 and used for producing low sulfur fuel oil ahead of the 2020 low sulfur International Maritime Organization requirement for bunker fuel.

-- Azeri 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. Development of a second refinery would be necessary if the company decided to go ahead with plans for a second petrochemical plant as its existing Petkim facility. A final investment decision was expected in March.

-- Turkey's Ersan Petrol plans to start construction of its 1.4 million mt/year Nazli refinery at Kahramanmaras in southeast Turkey by the end of 2018, with the plant expected to begin operations by the end of 2022.

--Elza Turner,

--Edited by Jonathan Fox,