Neste Oil has decided to postpone construction of a new gasoline isomerization unit at its Porvoo, Finland refinery. The decision reflects the current weaker demand for petroleum products, and will enable the company to concentrate resources on strategic growth projects, which are focused on building NExBTL renewable diesel capacity in Singapore and Rotterdam and a base oil plant in Bahrain. (Earlier post.)
The decision to build a new isomerization unit was taken in summer 2008 and its investment cost was estimated to be approximately €80 million (US$104 million). The engineering work for the unit is largely complete, and the intention is to move ahead with construction when the market situation improves.
Isomerization is used to convert the normal paraffin components of the lighter gasoline fraction (which have poor octane ratings) to their isomers to produce gasoline components of high octane rating.
Neste’s new isomerization unit will be capable of processing 600,000 t/a of existing gasoline fractions into higher-value, premium-quality gasoline, and will increase the refinery’s total gasoline output by 200,000 t/a.
Announcing the plan in June 2008, Jorma Haavisto, Executive Vice President, Oil Refining said:
The investment will enable us to use even low-grade fractions to produce low vapor pressure, high-octane gasoline, precisely the type of fuel that the market is willing to pay a premium for today.