Shell will shut down a key processing unit at its Pernis refinery in Rotterdam as it prepares for seasonal maintenance at Europe’s biggest refinery.
Bloomberg reported, citing an unnamed source familiar with the supermajor’s plans, that the maintenance operations would involve two high-vacuum units that produce feedstock for the refinery units that make diesel and gasoline.
The maintenance operation, according to the report, could boost prices for gasoline and diesel in northwestern Europe at a time when they are already on the climb.
Pernis is the largest oil-processing facility, followed by BP’s Rotterdam refinery, and has the capacity to process 400,000 bpd of crude oil. This capacity is expected to remain reduced until June, according to a statement from Shell.
Shell last year announced that it would rename the refinery Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rotterdam and build the biggest biofuels facility in Europe there. The company said at the time that the new facility would have the capacity to produce renewable diesel from waste as well as sustainable aviation fuel.
The move was part of Shell’s renewables push that was significantly accelerated by a Dutch court ruling that ordered the supermajor to curb its emission footprint considerably over the next ten years.
As a result, Shell plans, among other things, to reduce the production of traditional fuels by as much as 55 percent by 2030 and boost production of biofuels. The Rotterdam production facility should become operational in 2024, the company said last September.
Meanwhile, demand for gasoline across Europe is seen rebounding further this year, as pandemic-related movement restrictions are lifted, Argus reported earlier this month. This would also push prices higher because inventories remain tight while demand grows, the report noted.
Prices at the pump hit records last autumn in Europe as they did in the United States because of the imbalance between supply and demand.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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