ExxonMobil Starts New Antwerp Unit to Produce Marine Gasoil, Diesel

ExxonMobil has started operations of a new unit at its Antwerp refinery in Belgium to convert heavy, higher-sulfur residual oils into high-value transportation fuels such as marine gasoil and diesel.

As explained, the new 50,000 barrel-per-day unit expands the refinery's capacity to meet demand for cleaner transportation fuels throughout northwest Europe.

The company's investment in the new coker will also help meet anticipated demand for lower-sulfur fuel oil to comply with new standards to be implemented by the International Maritime Organization in 2020.

Our investment in Antwerp strengthens ExxonMobil's competitiveness and position (…) by expanding the refinery's product slate and increasing our ability to deliver larger quantities of cleaner, higher-value fuels to European customers," Bryan W. Milton, president of ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants Company, commented.

Other projects completed in Antwerp include a 130 megawatt cogeneration unit, which leads to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and a diesel hydrotreater, which has increased the refinery's production capacity for low-sulfur diesel to enable modern diesel engines to achieve lower emissions standards.

In addition, the company is currently constructing a new hydrocracker in Rotterdam that will upgrade heavier hydrocarbon byproducts into cleaner, higher-value finished products such as EHCTM Group II base stocks and ultra-low sulfur diesel.

ExxonMobil is also considering an expansion project at its Fawley refinery in the United Kingdom that would include a new hydrotreater unit and associated hydrogen plant to increase domestic diesel production and reduce reliance on imported fuel.


IMO MEPC 73 Adopts Ban on Carriage of Non-Compliant Fuels

The IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 73) adopted today the MARPOL amendment to prohibit the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil on board ships.

The ban relates to fuels intended for combustion purposes, propulsion or operation on board a ship, the IMO informed. The entry-into-force date is March 1, 2020.

The measure exempts ships that are fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems or scrubbers.

The committee approved guidance on ship implementation planning, which includes sections on
• risk assessment and mitigation plan (impact of new fuels);
• fuel oil system modifications and tank cleaning (if needed);
• fuel oil capacity and segregation capability;
• procurement of compliant fuel;
• fuel oil changeover plan (conventional residual fuel oils to 0.50% sulphur compliant fuel oil); and
• documentation and reporting.

The MEPC also approved guidance on best practice for fuel oil suppliers.

The key issues being tackled by MEPC 73 since Monday, October 22, included reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, further work on energy efficiency of ships, implementation of sulphur 2020 limit, and ballast water management treaty implementation among other things.

On Monday, the committee approved the follow-up program for IMO's strategy on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships. The program is intended to be used as a planning tool in meeting the timelines identified in the initial IMO strategy.

However, the committee turned down the proposal for the introduction of an experience-building phase on the 2020 sulphur cap prohibiting ships from burning marine fuels with sulphur content higher than 0.5 pct. Instead, the IMO called for proposals on issues regarding fuel quality concerns to be submitted by May, 2019.

IMO member states are required to inform IMO of the availability of compliant fuel oils in their ports and terminals well in advance of January 1, 2020. The parties are also required to notify when a ship has presented evidence of the non-availability of compliant fuel oil.


World Maritime News Staff



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