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Shell Halts Unit At Europe’s Biggest Refinery Due To Leak

Shell said on Tuesday that it had halted a unit at Europe’s largest oil refinery, Pernis in Rotterdam, due to a leak.

“Due to a leak on one of our units, it was decided to temporarily take it out of service for repair,” the UK-based supermajor said in a statement carried by Reuters.

Shell declined to comment for Reuters on what type the leak was, which unit was halted, or how long the outage would last.  

Pernis is the largest oil refinery in Europe and has the capacity to process more than 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil.

Last autumn, during the height of the fuel and energy crisis in Europe, the Pernis refinery suffered a malfunction, which exacerbated an already worsening fuel supply situation in northwest Europe due to strikes in France.   

Before the latest unit halt, the Pernis refinery had undergone major maintenance that lasted nearly two months. Shell began major maintenance of a number of installations at the refinery in early March. The facility was scheduled to see maintenance work completed by the end of May. 

Unlike last year, the fuel market in Europe is not as tight and refining margins have slipped in recent months.

“The reduced flows and muted demand growth both locally and in key export markets have taken a toll on values including narrower refining margins and EBOB-RBOB spreads,” Refinitiv analyst Raj Rajendran told Reuters last week.

Gasoline refining margins in northwest Europe fell to $20.70 a barrel as of June 2 due to lower exports from the region to West Africa.

In the week to May 31, total fuel stocks held at the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) oil trading hub declined amid higher demand for road fuels, according to Insights Global, which had noted that Shell’s Pernis refinery “appears to be back online after an extensive maintenance period, according to market participants.”

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By Tom Kool for Oilprice.com

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