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In Europe, refinery maintenance is drawing to a close around the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub, where work is now completed at the Zeeland refinery. Works on parts of the Pernis facility were set to last through November though there has been no information about its restart yet.

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The refinery reported few minor incidents last week, including a storage tank damage and a minor hydrogen fire at one of the units which was quickly extinguished.

-- Shell is carrying out major maintenance at Pernis in October and November that is set to involve 12 of the units, the refinery's general manager Jos Van Winsen said in a statement on the refinery's website. Traders had previously reported maintenance due to start mid-October on one of the two CDUs. The Pernis refinery is the largest in Europe, with around 60 units.

-- Galp's Sines is set to undergo two maintenance halts this quarter and next. The first maintenance, on the fluid catalytic cracker, will take place "by year end" and last between 40 and 50 days, Galp CEO Carlos Gomes da Silva said. For the first quarter of next year, Gomes da Silva said the facility's hydrocracker would be halted for 40 days to replace its catalyst. Both halts would also be used by the company to help adapt the refinery's units to new marine fuel regulations that are due to come into force in 2020. -- BP started planned refinery maintenance at Castellon on October 16 set to continue until mid-November. It is due to restart shortly.

-- Saras said in its Q3 results it didn't expect any significant maintenance at its Sarroch plant in the last three months of the year. In Q4, Saras had scheduled works on its alkylation and TAME units and its catalytic reforming units.

-- The Netherlands' Zeeland which went into partial maintenance beginning November 8 has started to produce again, as the maintenance is over, according to market sources.

-- Turkey's Izmit is undergoing planned maintenance until the end of November or beginning of December, according to traders. Works involve the hydrocracker, sources said. That has led to an increase in diesel imports.

-- Separately, Turkey's Izmir at Aliaga is undergoing maintenance work on one of the crude oil units.

-- The EST unit at Italy's Sannazzaro refinery, which had been offline since a fire in December 2016, is expected to restart at the end of 2018.

-- The smaller of the two crude distillation units at Spain's Tarragona was restarted on November 16 and has been operating normally since.

-- A leak on a pump was discovered at the Godorf site of Germany's Rhineland. The company said it was a technical problem that was not affecting supply.


-- Italy's Taranto refinery is scheduled to go offline in May to allow for works to permit the plant to refine crude from the Tempa Rossa oil field in southern Basilicata, which is set to start production in 2018, a trade union source said.

-- The next major shutdown at Kralupy in the Czech Republic is planned for 2018.

-- The UK's Stanlow will increase capacity during maintenance earmarked for H1 2018. As part of the refinery upgrade the refinery will change the feedstock for its FCC from VGO to heavy residue and also increase the petrochemical yield by 10%.

-- Germany's Holborn refinery, near Hamburg, is planning its next major turnaround in the autumn of 2018. It carries out major works every five years. 100

-- Norway's Kalundborg plans partial maintenance in May and September 2018.

-- The next large-scale maintenance at Italy's Milazzo facility is planned for 2019.

-- The next major turnaround at Sweden's Lysekil will be in the autumn of 2019.

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


-- Total completed the upgrade of its Antwerp refining and petrochemical complex which will enable it to convert more heavy fuel oil into low-sulfur light products.

The new de-asphalting unit, with 2.7 million mt/year feedstock capacity, and a mild hydrocracker, with 3 million mt/year capacity which was converted from one of the two existing atmospheric residue hydrodesulfurization units, "will reduce the high-sulfur heavy fuel oil yield, in anticipation of the new marine fuel regulation that will take effect in 2020," Total said.

As a result of the upgrade the refinery will take the bottom of the barrel from Antwerp but also from the nearby Zeeland refinery in Vlissingen in which Total holds 55% and will process it further into the SDA unit and then upgrade it into diesel and heating oil in the mild hydrocracker.

Antwerp and Zeeland will cut their heavy fuel oil output by 30% or 1 million mt/year. The refinery will also reduce its VGO imports and will go from VGO short to VGO balanced along with the nearby Zeeland.

-- ExxonMobil said it aims to complete construction of the new delayed coker at Antwerp in early 2018 "and will subsequently commence with the start-up process." The unit is expected to be fully operational in the first half of 2018 as "the new coker unit will need to be connected to other units at the refinery and this can take several months." It previously aimed for a startup towards the end of 2017. -- Two refineries in Rotterdam -- ExxonMobil's and Shell's Pernis -- are also working on upgrades.

-- Poland's Gdansk expects to complete its EFRA, a deep processing project including delayed coking/coker naphtha hydrotreating units, hydrogen generation unit and hydrowax vacuum distillation unit, in H1, 2018. It commissioned a modernized HDS unit in Q3.

-- Gazprom Neft has started construction of a delayed coker at its Pancevo refinery, with a target date for completion of 2019. The delayed coker will have 2,000 mt/day capacity and will help increase the depth of processing to 99.2% and diesel production by more than 38%. The refinery will start producing coke, which is currently not produced in Serbia.

-- The Netherlands' Zeeland is starting works on an expansion of the hydrocracker, due for completion in 2020. The unit, which processes heavy vacuum gasoil into diesel and jet fuel, already has two reactors, and the addition of a third will increase its efficiency.

-- Shell is looking into building a solvent de-asphalter plant at Wesseling, at the Rhineland refinery, which will enable it to desulfurize and further process heavy residues into lighter products such as heating oil.

-- Spain's Castellon aims to launch the upgraded vacuum distillation unit around the middle of next year. The company is using the current maintenance, which is set to last around 44 days between mid-October and mid-November, for work on upgrading the existing VDU.

-- Croatia's INA is building a delayed coker at Rijeka, due for completion in 2021.

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


-- Turkey's Star will sign its first crude purchase contracts in January 2018 ahead of the first tanker delivery in June, general manager Mesut Ilter said. The first cargo will be a symbolic delivery of Azeri crude, but the refinery will mainly process heavier crudes from other sources. The new refinery is configured to process crudes of specific gravity 28-36, which means the bulk of crude processed will be heavy crudes from Middle Eastern producers or Russia.

--Elza Turner,
--Edited by Maurice Geller,