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ExxonMobil to spend £500m on UK refinery

ExxonMobil, the US oil giant behind slideway oils like Mobil Vactra 4, has announced it plans to spend $650m (about £500m) on upgrading its Fawley refinery on the southern English coast.

ExxonMobil’s Fawley refinery currently processes a fifth of the UK’s refined fuel requirements, counting for some 270,000 barrels a day. The planned improvements, which are subject to a final investment decision next year, include constructing a new hydrogen plant and hydrotreater. This will enable the plant to make diesel that is ultra-low in sulphur from the heavier, sourer crude oils, thereby reducing the country’s reliance on imported fuel.

The company said in a statement:

“If approved, the project, which is expected to involve an investment of hundreds of millions of pounds, will … allow the site to process a wider selection of crude oils, and will help secure future employment for 1,000 employees at the site.”

The refinery in Fawley boasts a history dating back to 1921. It features a mile-long marine terminal that processes 22 million tonnes of crude oil and other products every year through some 2,000 ship movements. At its peak in 1973, the refinery processed some 400,000 barrels per day. In addition to diesel, it also produces a wide range of other products through complex processes. These include petrol, marine fuel, jet fuel, LPG, and base stocks for lubricants. It also supplies feedstock to an adjacent chemical plant, also owned by ExxonMobil, which makes key products like methyl ethyl ketone and halobutyl rubber.

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