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2 April 2019

ExxonMobil presses the start button of a billion-euro installation

Delayed Coker Unit creates a new horizon in Antwerp harbor

  • Further investment in strategic position of Antwerp refinery, one of the most modern and efficient in the world.
  • Meets the demand for cleaner fuels in the context of the new 2020 standards of the International Maritime Organization.
  • Over the past 15 years, ExxonMobil has invested 2.6 billion euros in Belgium.

Antwerp, 2 April 2019 – In the Port of Antwerp today, in the presence of many prominent figures, ExxonMobil celebrated the start-up of a large new installation at the refinery. Its construction represents an investment of more than a billion euros. This new plant converts heavy, high-sulfur oil products into cleaner transportation fuels.

The ceremony was attended by Flemish Minister-President Geert Bourgeois, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Work, Economy and Consumer Affairs Kris Peeters, the U.S. Ambassador Ronald J. Gidwitz and Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever. Deputy Prime Minister Peeters spoke about the importance for the wider region: “The investment of ExxonMobil is important for employment in, and the competitive position of, the port of Antwerp. As a result, 70 more jobs are being created and the port of Antwerp remains the engine of the Belgian economy."

Minister-President Bourgeois expressed satisfaction with the new installation: “It is fantastic that Flanders continues to attract mega-investments like this. Sustainability and innovation go hand in hand. Flanders is therefore committed to ensuring that top international companies can continue to make these investments. "

From a ship in the Hansa dock with a view of the impressive installation prominent figures and top management of ExxonMobil pressed the start button of the Delayed Coker Unit (DCU). Due to its large size and the impact of the factory on the production process of cleaner transport fuels, the DCU is shaping a new horizon in the Port of Antwerp.

Antwerp's Strategic Position Further Strengthened

Host Jan Michielsen, CEO of ExxonMobil Benelux, emphasized the importance of the new plant for the strategic position of the Antwerp refinery and its ability to compete in a challenging environment for European refineries. “This investment of one billion euros proves that ExxonMobil continues to play an important role in Antwerp. With this new factory, we meet the demand for low-sulfur transportation fuels and create new high-quality jobs. Along with the previous investments, it makes the Antwerp refinery one of the most modern and efficient in the world.”

Over the last 15 years, ExxonMobil has invested 2.6 billion euros in Belgium. In 2010, a cogeneration plant was commissioned and in 2008 a desulphurization plant. ExxonMobil also contributes strongly to the employment of contractors. During the construction of the DCU, an average of 1,600 extra workers worked on the site, with nearly 3,000 at peak times.

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Cleaner Transportation Fuels Meet New 2020 Standards

The DCU converts heavy, high-sulfur oil products into cleaner transport fuels, such as diesel and marine gasoil. Dave Brownell, Senior Vice President of ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants: “With the Delayed Coker Unit we meet the stricter 2020 standards that the International Maritime Organization imposes for sulfur emissions and we meet the increasing demand for cleaner transport fuels. Moreover, the sulfur emissions from the refinery itself will also decrease by 75%."

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About ExxonMobil in Belgium 

In addition to the Antwerp refinery, ExxonMobil Petroleum & Chemical BVBA has chemical plants and branches at various other locations. The company supplies the market with fuels and lubricants under the Esso and Mobil brands. The refinery in Antwerp has a production capacity of approximately 320,000 barrels per day and has been in operation since 1953. In Belgium, 1,500 people work for ExxonMobil. ExxonMobil spends about 1.3 billion euros a year on goods and services at large and small Belgian companies.

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