Rotterdam refinery harnesses technology and opportunity
A “one team, one goal” approach is bringing about the safe, on-time completion of the hydrocracker expansion, according to Harro van de Rhee, refinery manager (right) and Rolando Garcia, project executive
New unit improves capabilities, creates new marketing channels and positions the Dutch plant for the future.
ExxonMobil is advancing construction of a more than $1 billion hydrocracker expansion at its 190,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Rotterdam, Netherlands. To underline the significance of this project to the Dutch economy, Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp broke ground on the project in June 2016. The new unit is on track for startup in late 2018 and for shipping product in early 2019. The project is significant because it will increase the plant’s ability to produce ultra- low sulfur diesel. It will also
produce ExxonMobil EHC™ Group II base stocks on a large scale for the first time in Europe. This high- quality base stock is in demand in the lubricants industry, and helps reduce emissions and improve fuel economy and performance, among other benefits. The Rotterdam activity is part of the company’s focused investment to strengthen the global supply of high-quality base stocks, and complements other investments at its integrated facilities in Jurong (Singapore) and Baytown (United States).
“The European refining sector is a mature but highly competitive business,” says Harro van de Rhee, Rotterdam refinery manager. “This project will enable us to upgrade lower-margin products to higher- value products. But in addition to greater operational flexibility, the hydrocracker also brings energy- efficiency gains. We are already one of the most energy-efficient plants in Europe. With this new unit and the application of our proprietary technology, we will further boost our energy efficiency by 5 percent.”
Van de Rhee started his career at the Rotterdam refinery and has worked within refinery and chemical businesses in Europe and North America during his 26 years with ExxonMobil. ExxonMobil has a long history of integrated operations in the area, and the refinery, a lubes blending plant and four chemical facilities are all located within the Port of Rotterdam. The refinery is ideally situated for the expansion with its deepwater access and proximity to European markets.
Story by Bob Davis Photography by Danny Cornelissen
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