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EU approves Nynas takeover of Shell’s specialty oils refinery in Germany

09.02.2013  | 

The Commission said the Harburg refinery assets in the Hamburg region would be likely to close if there were no deal to buy them, which would significantly reduce production capacity in the European Economic Area, leading to higher prices for consumers of many oil-based products.


Nynas has received approval from the European Commission to take over production and responsibility for the base oil plant and associated production units at Shell's Harburg refinery in Hamburg, Germany, the company said on Monday.

The takeover of the first part of the refinery assets is targeted for January 1, 2014.

The new production plant will be a core site for Nynas with an annual production of specialty oils up to 350,000 tons. This represents a 40% increase in the company's supply capability of naphthenic specialty oils. With the takeover of the Harburg production facilities, Nynas will in the first phase take on approximately 90 Shell employees. This number will grow to 220 after two years.

"We signed this deal with Shell in 2011 and we are now satisfied that we have received the approval by the European Commission. The addition of Harburg to Nynas supply system is an important step forward in Nynas' growth strategy," said Staffan Lennström, CEO of Nynas.

"We will increase volumes of all products in our current range of naphthenic specialty oils," he continued. "With the new capacity we can reinforce our delivery performance and quickly meet the growing demand from our customers around the world."

"Over the next 24 months Harburg will be converted into a world class, stand-alone specialty oil refinery. The high safety performance and professionalism demonstrated by the Harburg organisation and the welcoming attitude from the region have been important for taking this step."

From the beginning of next year, Nynas will start operating the base oil unit and associated refining facilities, i.e. bitumen assets, tank farms and jetties on the southern part. Approximately 90 people will be employed by Nynas from the start of phase 1.

In preparation for phase 2, a hydrogen production plant will be built and operated by a third party supplier and Nynas will modify plants for further specialty oils production in the northern part.

After the conversion project, Nynas will take over all the operations of the new stand-alone specialty oils refinery.

With this agreement, Nynas will not take over any customers, sales or marketing assets from Shell.

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Dear Willem,
the catcracker, one crude distiller and several smaller units were already shut down this spring.
Kind regards, Gabriel

Willem Bosch

Dear Hydrocarbon processing Customerservice,
As a retired employee of Shell, I have read your article with great interest as I have worked in the Harburg refinery in the eighties.

Question: Will Shell apart from the base oil unit and bitumen assets willl also sell all the other parts of the refinery, like catcracker, platformer and thermal cracker units? Or will these units be shutdown?
Many thanks for your information.
Your sincerely,
Willem Bosch

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