Interactive Guide to UK Refineries

Fawley (Esso)

Esso Petroleum Co Ltd
Esso Refinery
Hants SO45 1TX

Tel: 023 80 892511
Fax: 023 80 896712

There has been a refinery at Fawley on the Western shore of Southampton Water since 1921. However, it was not until 1949 that the Esso Petroleum Company embarked on the construction of a completely new refinery - with an initial capacity of 5.5 million tons of crude oil per year.

The first stage of this expansion, which came on-stream in 1951 consisted of primary distillation units, a catalytic cracker and numerous treating units. Since 1951 additional distillation capacity has been provided. Current capacity is 15.6 million tonnes and the major process units now include 3 atmospheric and 3 vacuum distillation units, a fluid catalytic cracking unit, a resid finer, a polymerisation plant, 2 powerformers, 5 hydrofiners, 2 sulphur extraction units, a lubricating oil manufacturing complex, an isomerisation unit and a bitumen plant. Other facilities include a steam power generation station.

The Marine Terminal consisting of 5 deep sea and 4 inshore berths can accommodate partly laden vessels of up to 350 dwt. Currently some 2,500 ship movements per year take place at the Terminal. About 5% of Fawley's production is distributed by rail or road, 25% by sea and 70% by pipelines. Vessels of up to 26,000 dwt distribute to terminal in the UK and Europe whilst pipelines convey products to Company distribution terminals at West London, Purfleet, Avonmouth, Birmingham, Nottingham and Manchester. A number of short haul pipelines feed local powerstations and petrochemical works.

Within the 1,250 acre site at Fawley, Exxon Chemical Ltd. have, since 1966, operated a chemical manufacturing complex. These units, taking feedstocks from the refinery, produce an ever-expanding range of petroleum-based chemicals including ethylene, butylenes, butadiene, solvents, butyl and halobutyl rubber, lubricating oil and fuel oil additives and higher olefins with carbon numbers in the range C6 to C12 as precursors for intermediates for the vinyl and plastics industries. Speciality chemicals are also produced for the oil exploration, extraction and refining industries.

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