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Total Completes $1.2B Upgrade At Its Biggest Refinery In Europe

France’s oil supermajor Total SA said on Thursday that it had completed the upgrade of its Antwerp refinery, its largest refining and petrochemicals platform in Europe, which took more than US$1.18 billion (1 billion euro) of investments in new processing units to complete.  

Total completed two key projects—it built a new refining complex for the conversion of more heavy fuel oil into low-sulfur light products, and increased the flexibility of the steam cracker to maximize the processing of low-cost feedstock.

The French company also built a de-asphalting unit and a hydrocracker to increase the production of clean and high-value-added products.

“The new refining complex will reduce the high-sulfur heavy fuel oil yield, in anticipation of the new marine fuel regulation that will take effect in 2020,” Total said.

The upgrade project “illustrates our ambition in petrochemicals, where we aim to capitalize on the market’s growth by processing low-cost feedstock,” said Bernard Pinatel, President, Total Refining & Chemicals.

“Antwerp’s steam crackers will now be able to process up to 60% advantaged feedstock derived from gas, which are cheaper than naphtha, derived from oil,” Pinatel added. 

Located in the city’s port area, Total’s Antwerp complex has three production sites that are capable of processing 338,000 barrels of oil per day and 1.1 million tons of ethylene per year. The complex produces petroleum products—gasoline, LPG, diesel, heavy fuel oil, and jet fuel—as well as base chemicals including olefins, C4 fractions and aromatic hydrocarbons, some of which are used to make high-density polyethylene, a polymer.  

Another oil supermajor with a facility at Antwerp in Belgium, ExxonMobil, said earlier this week that it planned to complete the construction of the new delayed coker unit towards early 2018 and would then proceed with the start-up process. The delayed coker unit will be fully operational in the first half of 2018. The new coker unit is in line with upcoming legislation on heavy fuel oil for marine ships/barges that requires alternatives containing less sulfur. As a result, the Antwerp refinery will reduce the production of heavy fuel oil from 2018, Exxon said.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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