ExxonMobil has commenced operations at a new delayed coker unit installed at its Antwerp refinery in Belgium under a refinery expansion and modernization project announced in July 2014.


Image: ExxonMobil begins operations at new delayed coker unit at Antwerp refinery. Photo courtesy of James Knight/Freeimages.com

The delayed coker unit enables the Antwerp refinery to convert heavy, higher-sulfur residual oils into marine gasoil and diesel and other high-value transportation fuels.

With a capacity of 50,000 barrel-per-day, the new unit expands the Belgian refinery to cope up with the demand for cleaner transportation fuels in northwest Europe.

ExxonMobil said that its investment in the delayed coker will also help address expected demand for lower-sulfur fuel oil in accordance with new standards to be put into force by the International Maritime Organization in 2020.

ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants president Bryan W. Milton said: “Our investment in Antwerp strengthens ExxonMobil’s competitiveness and position as a leading European refiner by expanding the refinery’s product slate and increasing our ability to deliver larger quantities of cleaner, higher-value fuels to European customers.

“The $2 billion we have invested in our Antwerp refinery over the last decade has made the facility one of the most modern and efficient in the world.”

Apart from installing the new delayed coker unit, ExxonMobil had commissioned a 130MW cogeneration unit in 2009 followed by a diesel hydrotreater in 2011, which has boosted the production capacity of the Antwerp refinery for low-sulfur diesel. The diesel hydrotreater has enabled modern diesel engines to achieve lower emissions standards, said the oil and gas major.

Operating since 1953, the Antwerp refinery sources crude oil through the Rotterdam-Antwerp Pipeline, which is co-owned by ExxonMobil. The crude oil is stored in the tank form in the refinery prior to its processing into various products like LPG, petrol, naphtha, kerosene, diesel, fuel oil, domestic heating oil and also raw materials for the chemical industry.

The Antwerp refinery is integrated with ExxonMobil’s Performance Intermediates Plant, which produces chemical solvents.

Last month, the oil and gas company commenced operations at a new ultra-low sulfur fuels unit at its integrated facility at Beaumont in Texas, US. The new unit increases the facility’s ultra-low sulfur fuels production by 45,000 barrels per day.