Sulfur briefs

15:01 PM | November 6, 2020 | Daniel Marshall

Gunvor Group will be mothballed as per the company’s statement earlier this year. In the latest statement, Gunvor announced that “We will, however, continue terminal activities at the site, as well as assess future development opportunities for the land and existing units. In Rotterdam, we shut down the refinery’s two crude units, and operations will now focus on the desulfurization of high-sulfur products, the production of gasoline, and the processing of biofuels. The Ingolstadt facility is a top-quartile European refinery with strong location advantage.”

Sulfur recovery capacity is not extensive at Gunvor’s facilities is not extensive with just 108 metric tons/day estimated for Antwerp, 66 metric tons/day at Ingolstadt, and 72 metric tons/day at Rotterdam.

Total’s refinery in Antwerp is reported to be planning to restart mid-November after its maintenance. Sulfur recovery capacity at the refinery is estimated at 650 metric tons/day.

Although a slight improvement on the second quarter, Total has announced refining throughput in France during the third quarter at a reduction of 47% year on year. One of the main reasons cited was “the extended shutdown of the distillation unit at the Normandy (Gonfevrille) platform following an incident at the end of 2019.” According to press reports, the crude distillation unit will restart before the end of this year. Sulfur recovery capacity at Gonfreville is estimated at 415 metric tons/day.

Refining throughput across the rest of Europe fell by 29% in the third quarter compared with 2019 and by 16% in the first nine months of 2020 versus last year.

The Group also confirmed the conversion of the Grandpuits refinery in France to a zero-oil platform by 2024.  The plant will cease its crude oil refining activities in the first quarter of 2021. Sulfur recovery capacity at Grandpuits is estimated at 144 metric tons/day.

Total’s Leuna refinery will take its six-week turnaround in the second quarter next year, postponed from second-half 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Leuna refinery has an estimated sulfur recovery capacity of around 500 metric tons/day.

Shell’s Pernis refinery was due to take a 2–3 month turnaround on one unit from mid-October. Sulfur recovery capacity at Pernis is estimated at around 700 metric tons/day.

Low water levels in the Volga Don are reported to have prompted a prematurely early closure of the river system flowing into the Black Sea. Further sulfur cargoes will be constrained between now and April next year when the river system reopens.

The Formosa refinery at Mailiao continues to operate below capacity, some have estimated it was running as low as 30% but has since picked up to around 60%.

The sulfur recovery facilities are reported to have been affected by a combination of maintenance at one unit through October and prior to that owing to fire damage on another in July. The refinery has an estimated sulfur recovery capacity of 1,500 metric tons/day.