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Maintenance draws to a close in Europe

Some maintenance in Northwest Europe is still ongoing, although most turnarounds are drawing to a close, but more work is also starting in the Mediterranean, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.

Separately, France’s Total said it has not yet seen an operational impact from blockades of several of its refineries and oil terminals across the country by farmers protesting against the use of palm oil as a biofuel feedstock.

Meanwhile, the UK’s Unite trade union threatened strike action following a “gigantic deterioration” in relations with management at the Stanlow refinery, warning that this could hit supplies to Liverpool and Manchester airports in the holiday season. For its part, Essar Oil UK said while it was disappointed and surprised with the announcement by Unite, “senior Essar officials have met with their Unite counterparts on a weekly basis over the past six years to discuss issues and will continue to do so”.

Unions also threatened fresh blockades of Lukoil’s ISAB and Eni’s Versalis in Italy. Outsourced workers at Sicily’s ISAB refinery owned by Lukoil will resume a blockade of plant gates in the event of a failure to resolve a labor dispute involving local company Set Impianti, which carries out works for the complex, union sources said. The workers also threatened action at the nearby Versalis petrochemicals plant owned by Italian oil giant Eni.

In other news, Poland’s largest refiner, PKN Orlen, expects to finalize its takeover of the country’s number two refiner, Grupa Lotos, in the second half of next year.

In Portugal, the competition authority (Autoridade da Concorrencia, or AdC) said an 8 km product pipeline extension between the Galp refinery and the nearby port of Sines needed to be completed as one of a number of measures to foster competition in the fuel sector.


— Italy’s Milazzo placed its 46,200 b/d FCC unit offline at the start of June for around 20 days of maintenance, sources close to the refinery told told S&P Global Platts. The FCC unit will be operational again around June 18, the sources said. The FCC unit maintenance was postponed last October to the first months of 2018 but had been again postponed. The plant had encountered some issues with its catalyst in recent days, forcing the maintenance work to be initiated, union sources told S&P Global Platts separately on Friday.

— The bitumen plant at the Livorno refinery in Italy is operational again after work to replace a portion of underground pipeline that supplies the unit was completed. The bitumen plant was immediately shut during a spring restart following a winter break when the pipeline infrastructure was found to be blocked.

— Works that started in French Lavera in May are expected to end in June, according to trading sources.

— Petroineos’s Lavera refinery in France was progressively restarting units in order to resume production after maintenance was completed in the first week of June, a spokesman said. “We issued a press release to the residents on Friday in order to warn them that there would be flaring as part of the restart process,” he said.

— The 50,000 b/d fluid catalytic cracker unit at Italy’s Augusta remains offline as of early June following a fire in early March, a union source said.

— BP Rotterdam has completed its partial maintenance, which involved halting a crude distillation unit, according to trading source. The company declined to comment.

— BP’s refinery in Lingen, Germany, is back in the market following works, according to sources. The refinery was not available to comment, but it previously reported possible flaring due to a unit being taken offline at the end of April.

— Maintenance on part of the Schwedt refinery in Germany has been completed and production is expected to be back to normal levels in June, according to sources. The work started in April and was expected to last for around six weeks.

— Total’s Antwerp is back up and running after maintenance, according to trading sources. The company was unavailable to comment. Total said in its Q1 financial report that it was carrying out “major turnaround activities on the largest distillation train” at the site. The start of maintenance in mid-March in Antwerp and the petchem site at Gonfreville have affected its utilization rates, it said.


— Bilbao has halted a 100,000 b/d crude unit between June 3-8, the company said in a note on the Petronor website.

— Maintenance at Israeli refiner Bazan, formerly ORL, was expected in June, traders said.

— Spain’s Tarragona refinery has started an earler planned maintenance, which will affect the production at several units including the hydrocracker. Works are due to last between May 28 until late June.

— Gunvor Petroleum Rotterdam, previously the Q8 Refinery Europoort, is expected to undergo maintenance in June, but the exact units are unknown, traders said. The company declined to comment.

— Romania’s Rompetrol said its Petromidia facility is expected to process 5.44 million mt in 2018, down from 5.66 million mt in 2016, as it plans certain works including decoking, regeneration and replacement of catalysts.

— Italian refiner Saras has scheduled a 2018 maintenance cycle that is roughly in line with what took place in 2017. In the second quarter of the year, maintenance will be carried out on the RT2 and T1 Toppings plants as well as the VSB VisBreaking and the MHC2 MildHydroCracking units. No major maintenance activities are programmed for the third quarter of the year, while an upgrade will be carried out on the CCR Catalytic Reforming plant in the fourth quarter.

— INA is planning maintenance at the Rijeka refinery for Q4.

— MOL has continued some Q1 maintenance activities at its flagship Danube and Bratislava refineries into the early part of the second quarter. The company did not specify which units have been affected, nor provide a completion date.

— Finland’s Neste is to implement “several scheduled unit turnarounds” on its oil products refining capacity during this spring and autumn. One of the units included in the spring maintenance is the Porvoo refinery’s 44,600 b/d FCC, a trader said.

— Poland’s Plock refinery is planning to carry out works in the spring involving a CDU, FCC (28,000 b/d), reformer (44,300 b/d) and one HDS (hydrodesulfurization) unit.

— Works at UK’s Grangemouth, which started in April, are ongoing through May, according to trading sources. The refinery was due to carry out partial maintenance, involving one of the three CDU units.

— Major maintenance is underway at the Orlen Lietuva refinery in Lithuania. The refinery is “currently focusing on major maintenance works,” it said in the last week of April.

— Italy’s Taranto refinery was expected to start a six-week maintenance cycle around end May, a source close to the company said.



— 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 told S&P Global Platts.


— Lukoil’s ISAB refining complex in Sicily will be offline for some 50 days in October and November 2018 for maintenance and upgrades.

— Germany’s Holborn refinery, near Hamburg, is planning its next major turnaround in the autumn. It carries out major work every five years.

— Norway’s Kalundborg plans partial maintenance in September. Separately, the refinery was not offering low sulfur fuel oil due to a unit being offline, trading sources said.

— Partial maintenance will be carried out at Sweden’s Gothenburg in the autumn of 2018 when it would shut down its GHT/ISOGHT to change the GHT catalyst.

— Galp Energia plans for 2018 will be a scheduled stoppage of the 40,000 b/d fluid catalytic cracker at Sines during the fourth quarter.

— The EST unit at Italy’s Sannazzaro refinery, offline since a fire in December 2016, was expected to restart at the end of 2018.

— 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 on the ISOGHT unit, decoking of CDU1, and a change of catalyst in the DHT 3, ISOM, GHT, ISOGHT.

— 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 changeouts 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.

— The next major turnaround at Sweden’s Gothenburg will be in 2021.

— Spain’s Cepsa has no plans to close its refinery on Tenerife permanently despite halting production in 2014.

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



— Two refineries in Rotterdam — Shell’s Pernis and ExxonMobil’s — have been working on upgrades. Pernis said in early June a new unit was being prepared for start-up and existing installations were being adapted. It did not specify the unit, but the refinery was in the process of building a solvent deasphalter, due to be completed this year.

— ExxonMobil said in early June it expects the new delayed coker at Antwerp “to be fully operational in 2018.” The company also said the startup, earmarked for this year, is a complex process “and can take several months.

— Israeli refiner Paz Group expects to complete construction of an OGR facility at its Ashdod refinery by the end of June. The facility, due to begin operation in July, was expected to improve the refinery’s profitability.


— Poland’s Lotos said it is in discussions with the contractor to decide on a new work schedule to complete its major refinery modernization, the EFRA project, which was 93.7% complete at the end of March.

— Gazprom Neft has started construction of a delayed coker at its Pancevo refinery, with a target date for completion of 2019.

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

— Shell is looking into building a solvent deasphalter plant at its Wesseling, Rhineland, refinery. Shell and ITM Power said they will build a hydrogen production plant at Wesseling, using electrolysis.

— The revamp of the vacuum distillation unit at the Castellon refinery is on track to be completed by summer.

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

— Cepsa is due to carry out upgrades to the 2.1 million mt/year hydrocracker and FCC units at La Rabida (Huelva) in Spain, it said, without setting a date.

— Cepsa has an investment plan of Eur200 million from 2017-19 to revamp the Isomax, fluid catalytic cracker, alkylation units at San Roque and to build a methylene unit (Sorbex II).

— 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.

— Swiss commodity trader Gunvor is looking at options for its refinery in Rotterdam aimed at meeting the International Maritime Organization’s requirements for low sulfur marine fuel from 2020, the company said, adding it has not made any decision yet.

— 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.



— 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, an official from Socar’s Turkish subsidiary confirmed to Platts. The official said 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, also at Aliaga, will use the STAR refinery’s entire 1.3 million mt/year naphtha output. Work on feasibility studies and pre-engineering plans for the new petrochemical plant is ongoing, the official said, with a final investment decision expected in March next year.


— Turkey’s Star will offer its first commercially produced products to the local market at the end of September or early October.

— 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.
Source: Platts

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