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Dutch refinery fire reveals Europe’s dependence on imported diesel

Dutch refinery fire reveals Europe’s dependence on imported diesel

AMSTERDAM: Europe is known to be dependent on imported crude oil. But an incident at the EU’s biggest refinery this summer has shown that the European continent has also become dependent on import of diesel fuel.

Europe is set to take a record of more than 2 million tonnes of US diesel in August after a string of refinery woes pulled in cargoes that have for months been diverted elsewhere, Reuters reported, quoting trading and shipping sources.

Refinery fires and falling stocks – including the closure of the largest European plant, the 404,000 barrel per day (bpd) Pernis refinery in the Netherlands – have made Europe a target destination for US exports, which hit their own record above 1.6 million bpd in July.

Royal Dutch Shell said it is aiming to restart most units at its Rotterdam-based Pernis refinery by the end of this month. The refinery was shut down following a fire in a power unit and a subsequent hydrogen fluoride leak.

The shutdown of the refinery in late July has contributed to a tighter fuel market in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp area. Fuel prices in both Europe and the US jumped at the end of last month when the fire forced Shell to halt most of the plant’s units.

Traders directed extra cargoes from other parts of the world in anticipation of a supply shortfall in northwest Europe. The difference between diesel and crude declined immediately after the planned restart became known, a sign of a weaker market.