Oil major Shell says it has had to cut output at its German Rhineland refining facility, which makes fuels, heating oil and petrochemicals, citing low Rhine levels that have made the transport of goods via the river more challenging.
Shell stated: “Due to the low level of water in the Rhine, we have reduced the capacity of Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rhineland. The situation regarding supply is challenging but carefully managed.”
The company did not say to what the level of capacity at the site, which can process up to 17 MMt of crude oil a year, or 345,000 bpd, had been cut to.
Lars van Wageningen, operations manager at shipping consultancy Insights Global, said: “Continued extremely low water levels on the Rhine have inflated freight rates as some ships are touching the riverbed even when empty.”
The water level at the Rhine chokepoint of Kaub, near Koblenz, was still at 34 centimetres on Thursday August 18 – near lows last seen in 2018. Vessels need about 1.5 metres to sail fully loaded.
(Source: Tank News Int., August 30-2022)