Shell is considering extending a shutdown at Pernis, Europe's largest oil refinery. The catalytic cracker at the 412,000 bpd Pernis refinery was scheduled to restart in the second week of December after it was shut for safety reasons when a fire broke out at a nearby pipeline. Economic run cuts at complex plants like Pernis are unusual, and if the extension is carried out, it could herald shutdowns spreading across Europe to support overall refining margins and especially those of gasoline, which is now even cheaper than crude oil.
France's Total has cut runs at its Gonfreville refinery to reduce gasoline output because deteriorating demand in recent months has made the historically profitable product a loss maker this year. Weak demand is expected to continue for several months. In Europe, it is unusual for multiple complex refineries with high yields of light products to reduce runs at almost the same time.
Gasoline and naphtha for gasoline blending and petrochemical use are now cheaper than crude oil in Europe, USA and many other areas in the world due to slowing demand as the global economy weakens.