Total wraps up Antwerp refinery modernisation

Total has commissioned several units as part of a more than €1-billion modernisation of its 338,000-b/d Antwerp refining and petrochemical complex.


Start up of the units completes the modernisation programme first announced in 2013, which aims to improve competitiveness of the site further, Total said.


Alongside the addition of a solvent deasphalting unit and a mild hydrocracking unit to increase yields of desulphurised diesel and ultralow-sulphur heating oil from heavy fuel oil, the company also increased flexibility of an existing steam cracker to maximise processing of low-cost feedstock as well as added a new plant to convert rich gases produced at the refinery into petrochemical feedstock for the cracker


One of the complex’s two steam crackers and site logistics also have been adapted to import and process ethane to replace naphtha feedstock, the company said.


The refining complex will reduce the high-sulphur heavy fuel oil yield ahead of the International Maritime Organisation’s new marine-fuel regulations scheduled to take effect in 2020 which will reduce allowable sulphur content of bunker fuels oil to 0.5 wt %, the operator said.


With the modernisation now completed, Antwerp’s steam crackers will now be able to process up to 60% advantaged feedstock derived from gas, which are cheaper than naphtha, derived from oil, said Bernard Pinatel, president of Total Refining & Chemicals.