SHARE
ExxonMobil's Slagen Refinery. Image courtesy of ExxonMobil.

ExxonMobil’s Norway affiliate Esso Norge said Thursday it will install a new processing unit at its Slagen refinery that will allow the plant to replace the production of heavy fuel oil with lighter, higher value gas oil.

The new residual flash tower will enable the plant to produce high quality vacuum gas oil, a higher yield feedstock that is used to make finished products such as diesel.

Residual flash towers are used to reduce the viscosity of heavy weight oils.

The cost of the upgrade and the expected completion date were not disclosed.

The Slagen refinery has an annual processing capacity of 6 million tons of crude oil, mainly sourced from the North Sea.

About 60 percent of the refinery’s production is exported, making it one of the largest export businesses in mainland Norway.

Exxon said its investing in the Slagen refinery despite low margins and industry wide losses in Europe.

“The new investment in Slagen builds upon other strategic investments in Europe and further strengthens the industry leading position of our advantaged assets in meeting increasing demand for energy,” president of ExxonMobil Refining and Supply Company Jerry Wascom said.

The Slagen refinery is situated on the west bank of the Oslofjord inlet about 5 nautical miles south of Horten, Norway.