ExxonMobil's Investment in its Fawley Petrochemical Refinery

ExxonMobil’s £800m (US$1bn) petrochemical facility in Fawley forms the foundations for lower-carbon fuels in the future

Scheduled for completion next year, the latest addition to an ExxonMobil facility off the British coast is working to meet Britain’s energy needs and build the foundations for lower-carbon fuels in the future with addition of a new hydrogen plant.

At Fawley – the first refinery on the site dates back to 1921 — Esso Petroleum and ExxonMobil Chemical operate one of the largest and most complex oil refining and petrochemical manufacturing sites in Europe.

Petrochemicals, the chemical products obtained from petroleum by refining, are used to manufacture the likes of plastics, medicines, cosmetics, solar power panels and wind turbines.

“Our economies are heavily dependent on petrochemicals, but the sector receives far less attention than it deserves,” Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. “Petrochemicals are one of the key blind spots in the global energy debate, especially given the influence they will exert on future energy trends.”

Fawley: Fuelling the future of energy

Representing a more than £800m (US$1bn) investment, the facility will help to meet Britain’s energy needs today and build the foundations for lower-carbon fuels in the future with addition of a new hydrogen plant.

Global engineering and project management company Kent is working in alliance with Taylor Woodrow and BGEN to deliver construction, completion and commissioning of a new Diesel Hydrotreater and a Steam Methane Reforming Hydrogen Plant at the site. The project is scheduled for completion next year and has been set in motion to enable the production of low-sulphur diesel in compliance with the 2025 Euro 7 emissions standards.

Workmen at ExxonMobil Fawley

Upgrades to ExxonMobil’s Fawley sites are hoped to increase production by 40% and reduce imports to the UK by around 25%. 

Iain Eddie, Kent's EVP Operations for EMEA, expressed his enthusiasm and pride in Kent's role in the project.

“This project showcases the strength of collaboration and the depth of expertise within our alliance with Taylor Woodrow and BGEN. We are honoured to contribute to this important investment by ExxonMobil, which not only aligns with the UK's energy resilience goals but also underscores Kent's commitment to delivering innovative solutions on a global scale.”

ExxonMobil's Fawley site

Regarded as Britain’s largest integrated petrochemical complex, the Fawley site has been an integral part of the local community since 1951, when it was rebuilt and extended from the original plant built in 1921 and acquired by Esso in 1925. It boasts a capacity of 330,000 barrels a day and operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year thanks to its more than 2,500 staff.

Speaking at the announcement of ExxonMobil’s new investment at Fawley, Sir Julian Lewis, MP for New Forest East, said: “This exciting new development offers immediate economic advantages and anticipates future technologies to protect the environment. It is a major step on a very important industrial journey.”

This sentiment is echoed by Fawley Site Manager Nick Bone: “This is a major investment by ExxonMobil that will see domestically produced fuel reduce Britain’s reliance on imports and the emissions associated with its transport from around the world.

“We are not only powering the country’s needs today, we are building the foundations that could help to lower emissions from hard to decarbonise sectors such as air travel and marine transport in the future.

“It is our proven ability to deliver technology at scale that will see Fawley play a key role in the country’s ambitions for net zero.”

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