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Shell Aims To Restart Crude Unit At Europe’s Biggest Refinery

Shell will try to restart this Friday one of the two crude distillation units at its 404,000-bpd Pernis refinery—the biggest refinery in Europe—after it was shuttered following a fire at the end of July, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, quoting a person familiar with the situation.

The Pernis refinery in Rotterdam was shut down on July 31, after a short circuit caused a major fire. Last week, expectations were that the Pernis refinery would be closed for at least two weeks and resume operations “at the earliest in the second half of August.”

Shortly after today’s report of the expected attempt at a restart of one of two crude distillation units, European diesel futures extended their drop in London at mid-day local time, as traders faced the realization that fuel may start flowing again sooner than expected, Bloomberg and ICE Futures Europe data showed.

Immediately after the Shell refinery outage at the start of last week, diesel prices in Europe surged. According to a survey by Bloomberg, the refinery shutdown could lead to increased flows of diesel from Asia.

Europe’s diesel imports from the U.S. were set to hit a 12-week high after the Shell refinery outage, a Bloomberg survey of shipbrokers showed. Apart from higher imports from Asia, traders were expecting lower gasoline exports to the U.S. 

Related: Is The EIA Exaggerating U.S. Oil Production?

Earlier this year, a fire at Total’s Leuna oil refinery near Leipzig in eastern Germany disrupted diesel and gasoline supplies to gas stations in the region, and some retail stations were running out of fuel.  

In Greece, Hellenic Petroleum declared force majeure on its 100,000-bpd Elefsina refinery in July, suspending diesel exports.

Even before Shell shut down Europe’s biggest refinery following the incident last week, refining margins in Europe had hit their highest since November 2015.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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