Showa Shell to close part of Keihin refinery by September 2011

18 February 2010 15:19  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Japan’s Showa Shell Sekiyu plans to permanently close a crude distillation unit (CDU) and associated secondary units at its 185,000 bbl/day Keihin refinery by September 2011, a company source said on Thursday.

The planned closure of the facilities was linked to sluggish demand for oil products in Japan and tough economic conditions, the source said.

The Keihin refinery is operated by the Showa Shell subsidiary Toa Oil and was created in 2000 in an earlier move to improve efficiency with the merger of the Showa Shell Kawasaki refinery and the Toa Oil Kawasaki refinery.

The units to be closed at Keihin include a 120,000 bbl/day CDU, a 30,000 bbl/day vacuum distillation unit (VDU) and a 21,500 bbl/day continuous catalytic reformer (CCR). The facilities, which are referred to as the Ohgimachi factory, comprise the ex- Showa Shell Kawasaki refinery.

The closure will coincide with the planned turnaround of other (ex-Toa Oil) facilities at the Keihin refinery, which are now known as the Mizue factory. The units include a 65,000 bbl/day CDU, a 58,000 bbl/day VDU, a 42,000 bbl/day fluid catalytic cracker (FCC), a 27,000 bbl/day flexicoker and an 8,000 bbl/day naphtha reformer.

The source said that, despite its smaller size, the Mizue factory is economically more viable than the larger Ohgimachi facility due to its more complex structure with an FCC and flexicoker.

These secondary facilities enable the Mizue factory to maximise the output of higher-value gasoline and distillates and minimise the output of lower-value products such as fuel oil.

Showa Shell Sekiyu currently has three refining complexes in Japan, which have a combined capacity of 515,000 bbl/day.

The other two refineries are the 210,000 bbl/day Yokkaichi refinery and the 120,000 bbl/day Yamaguchi refinery, which are operated by Seibu Oil.

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By: James Dennis
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