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Evolutionary forces

Published by , Senior Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

A wide assortment of factors is prodding Europe’s energy sector. Evolving sources of natural gas (LNG and Nord Stream 2), environmental changes (IMO’s low sulfur fuel directive, NGO pressures, EU carbon-free directives), the phase out of nuclear energy, and the integration of domestic networks into continent-wide systems are just some of the elements that require tank and terminal operators to adapt.

New construction

HES International is currently building the largest greenfield tank terminal in the Netherlands. The Maasvlakte 1.3 million m3 liquid bulk storage terminal is being constructed in the port of Rotterdam. It will have 52 storage tanks ranging in size from 5000 m3 to 50 000 m3. HES, which already operates three dry bulk and one liquid bulk terminals in Rotterdam, is looking to leverage large-scale investments by major operators in the port by supplying storage and shipping services for refined liquids including diesel, gasoline, biofuels, and kerosene, as well as blending services for third parties. In addition to the tanks, the project includes an 1100 m quay with a maximum draft of 23.6 m. The depth allows very large crude carriers (VLCCs), with a maximum capacity of 2 million bbl, to dock. The project is expected to be completed by late 2021.

Plans have solidified since Ineos Rolle announced in early 2019 that it is building a greenfield ethane cracker and propane dehydrogenation (PDH) facility in Antwerp, Belgium. In June 2019, the Swiss-based company announced that South Korean contractor SK Engineering & Construction had been selected for front-end engineering and design (FEED), as well as the preferred bidder for the core PDH unit. The €3 billion petrochemical complex, which will use liquid ethane imported from the US as feedstock, will produce 750 000 tpy of propylene when commissioned in 2024.

As part of its goal to expand its refining and marketing footprint globally, Saudi Aramco announced ambitious plans to expand its oil supply to Europe from 1 million bbl/month to 10 million bbl/month over the next two years. In addition to opening a trading operations office in London, UK, it will augment its storage facilities in Rotterdam, which currently stand at 6 million bbl.

In Croatia, INA has signed a €450 million contract with Maire Tecnimont to build a delayed coking complex at its 90 000 bpd Rijeka refinery on the Adriatic Sea in order to produce high quality, low sulfur fuels. In addition to the coking unit, the contract includes terminal storage and loading infrastructure improvements.

In December 2019, PKN Orlen contracted with Fluor Corp. to expand its olefins production at its 327 300 bpd refinery and petrochemical complex at Plock, Poland. The contract is part of the company’s US$2 billion Petrochemical Development Programme (PDP) that aims to add 30% to its existing capacity by the end of 2023.

ExxonMobil is expanding production of ultra-low sulfur diesel at its 270 000 bpd Fawley refinery in Southampton, UK. The work involves the design and construction of a hydrotreater and steam methane-reforming hydrogen plant. When completed, output of ultra-low sulfur diesel is expected to rise 38 000 bpd, to a total of approximately 122 000 bpd. The new capacity is part of ExxonMobil’s US$1 billion plan to improve both production and related infrastructure at Fawley, which includes a mile-long terminal that handles 22 million tpy of crude and fuel products...

Written by Gordon Cope, Contributing Editor.

This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 issue of Tanks & Terminals. To read the full article, and other great technical articles in this issue, view the full issue here. You can also register to receive a free regular copy of the magazine here.

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