May 24, 2010 at 9:00 pm #2664
Conoco German Refinery Shutdown to Last Weeks After Fire Damage
By Rachel Graham and Nidaa Bakhsh
May 20, 2010 (Bloomberg) — ConocoPhillips’s biggest European refinery will be closed for weeks of repairs and inspections after fire damage at the plant this month, two people familiar with the situation said.
The crude-distillation unit at the Wilhelmshaven refinery will stay offline at least four weeks while the site is cleaned, inspected and fixed, one of the people said, declining to be identified because the information isn’t public. ConocoPhillips spokesman Bill Stephens at company headquarters in Houston wouldn’t comment, saying the “repair and restart plans, including the schedule, are proprietary and subject to change.”
The fire broke out in the refinery’s primary unit on May 1, days after the plant returned to service following a six-month shutdown because of maintenance and declining demand for fuels. The unit was enclosed in steel scaffolding, which was “heavily damaged” by the fire’s heat, creating a risk of collapse, the local fire department said at the time.
The closure will reduce demand for crude from the North Sea. The 260,000 barrel-a-day plant makes about 102,000 barrels of distillate fuels a day and an additional 36,000 barrels of gasoline, according to data on ConocoPhillips’s website.
Russia’s OAO Lukoil may be among prospective buyers for the site, ConocoPhillips Chief Executive Officer Jim Mulva said on May 12. The U.S. refiner may decide later this year on alternatives for the plant, including further investments or a possible sale, Mulva said earlier at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting.
To contact the reporters on this story: Rachel Graham in London firstname.lastname@example.org and Nidaa Bakhsh in London at email@example.com
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