ExxonMobil, the makers of a range of oil-based products, including Mobil DTE Heavy Medium, has announced that it is planning to expand the hydrocracker unit at its Rotterdam refinery, so that it can upgrade heavier by-products into cleaner finished products of higher value. These are set to include ultra-low sulfur diesel and EHCTM Group II base stocks.
The refinery, which is currently operated by Esso Nederland BV, will utilise ExxonMobil’s hydrocracking technology to be the first European manufacturers of EHC Group II base stocks.
Base stocks are the main ingredients used to produce high-quality lubricants and greases, and Group II base stocks are higher performance, which means that they command a higher value and are advantageous for use in many applications.
Speaking about ExxonMobil’s latest investment, the president of ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Company, Jerry Wascom said:
“This investment demonstrates ExxonMobil’s long-term view and disciplined investment approach. Despite a challenging industry environment, we are committed to our long-term strategy of investing in projects in advantaged locations where we can continue to increase competitiveness and profitability.”
ExxonMobil’s Rotterdam refinery is already one of Europe’s most energy efficient and an important producer of low-sulfur petroleum in the area. Once the expansion is complete, the hydrocracking process will enable the refiner to produce high quality base stocks, which will help lubricant blenders increase their formulation flexibility, and ultra-low sulfur diesel in a unique and efficient manner.
The expansion project is set to begin in 2016, and it is hoped it will be complete by 2018.