Shell declares FM on propylene in wake of Pernis fire

Source: ECN


Shell has declared force majeure (FM) on propylene supply in the wake of the fire at the Pernis refinery, a source from polypropylene (PP) producer Ducor said on 4 August.

“As long as the outage doesn’t last for longer than two weeks to a month, we will be able to supply our [PP] customers,” said the source.

A Shell spokesperson confirmed that the earliest restart date for the refinery was the second half of August but declined to comment further.

Market sources had earlier said that they believed the cracker at Moerdijk, Netherlands, was running at reduced rates as feedstock supply from the Pernis refinery would have been cut, given the shutdown of all units there.

The company had already declared force majeure on ethylene supplies from its cracker at Moerdijk in the Netherlands following the fire and subsequent outage at the nearby Pernis refinery, according to a market player on 2 August.

One source said that a letter declaring force majeure and detailing an allocation of supply had been received from Shell that day.

Shell had not yet responded to a request for comment.

Other market sources said that they believed the cracker was running at reduced rates as feedstock supply from the Pernis refinery will have been cut, given the shutdown of all units there.

On 31 July Shell said it had shut down “most of its units” at its Pernis facility in Rotterdam after a fire struck the facility late on 29 July.

The company said the incident had been caused by a fire at a power station within the facility.

“At around 22:30 on July 29, Shell Pernis experienced a power outage due to a fire in a power supply system. Shell Pernis has decided to shut down most of its units in a safe and prompt manner, and this has resulted in flaring,” said the company in a statement.

“All appropriate agencies were notified and we continue to keep the local community informed. There were no injuries associated with this incident.”

Rotterdam sits in the crude oil and petrochemical hub of Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA), which is key for the production and distribution of product across the northwest Europe area.

Shell’s facility at Pernis processes 404,000 bbl/day of crude oil products such as diesel, jet kerosene, base oils, liquefied petroleum gases or fuel oil.

The company also produces polyols and solvents at the facility. According to the ICIS plants and projects database, Pernis has a production capacity of 250,000 tonnes/year for propylene and 150,000 tonnes/year of isopropanol (IPA) at Pernis.

It has also production capacities for methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), at 90,000 tonnes/year, and for methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) at 45,000 tonnes/year.

Nel Weddle and Vasiliki Parapouli contributed to this article.