LONDON�Norway's Statoil AS yesterday announced it will spend some 400 million Danish kroner on a new diesel oil facility at its Kalundborg refinery near Copenhagen as part of plans to get the jump on European sulphur content legislation due to come into force in 2005.
According to the Norwegian oil and gas giant, the new plant, expected to be up and running by 2002, will cut the sulphur content of diesel oil by 80%, from 0.005% to just 0.001%, and "substantially reduce" carcinogenic aromatics and polyaromatics levels in the product.
Erling Øverland, executive vice-president for manufacturing and marketing at Statoil, said the "considerable uncertainty" about the refinery's future had been "eliminated" by the investment decision.
While current European Union legislation permits a sulphur content of 0.035% in diesel oil, Danish authorities have been pressing for a lower upper limit.
"Our industry has usually lagged behind with decisions on environmental measures," said Øverland. "This time, we'll be delivering tomorrow's product before tomorrow arrives."
Statoil has yet to take a decision as to making a similar investment at its Mongstad refinery north of Bergen, Norway, because this facility is "very different" in design from Kalundborg.
The oil company said it considering measures and investment to ensure that Mongstad can also meet "future [environmental] requirements."