Shell plans major work at Europe’s biggest oil refinery in March

Shell Pernis refinery Source: iStock

Shell plc plans to carry out major work from March at its Pernis refinery, Europe’s biggest oil-processing complex, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The maintenance — which includes one of the plant’s two crude-processing units — could reduce supply of diesel just weeks after the imposition of a ban on seaborne diesel imports from Russia. It has long been the European Union’s biggest external supplier of the fuel.

Pernis is located in Rotterdam in the heart of Europe’s oil-trading hub, where benchmark diesel futures are priced. Shell declined to comment.

Europe has been bringing in more diesel than usual ahead of the Feb. 5 ban on imports and inventories of the fuel in independent storage have recovered since the middle of last year, data from Insights Global show. 

In addition to the crude unit, Shell plans to take what’s known as a vacuum unit out of service, the person said. That plant is involved in processing feedstocks that then go into other units such as the hydrocracker, a big diesel-making machine. Pernis has several vacuum units.

It’s not clear if the hydrocracker at Pernis, which underwent planned maintenance three years ago, will also be taken offline. TotalEnergies SE is currently working on its equivalent unit at the Zeeland refinery, also in the Netherlands.

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