Royal Dutch Shell said on Tuesday it was restarting a number of units at Europe’s largest oil refinery in the Netherlands following a 10-day outage.
The phased restart of the 404,000 barrel per day Pernis refinery is expected to weigh on refining margins in the region which rose sharply in the wake of the outage, caused by a fire at a power unit and a subsequent hydrogen fluoride leak.
Shell is currently restarting a number of units at the refinery near Rotterdam, a company spokesman said. Restarting a refinery of this size, which includes dozens of units, can be a complicated process and units often trip in the process.
It was unclear how long the restart process will take, but it comes slightly ahead of Shell’s initial expectations of two weeks.
“Complete restart will take place in a structured and controlled way,” the oil major said in an emailed statement, without identifying which units were resuming operations.
Refining margins were expected to weaken in the short term once the Pernis refinery resumes production and as large volumes of diesel imports reach the continent, said Robert Campbell, head of oil products markets analysis at Energy Aspects.
“This avoids some of the worst case scenario in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp refining hub but (maintenance) work is still significant in the autumn,” Campbell said, which will support refining margins then.
The restart comes after Shell engineers were able to restore some of the power through alternative sources, according to industry sources.
No production units were damaged by the fire but some catalysts, used in upgrading units, will require replacing, according to the sources.