Located in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, on the coast of the North Sea, the Wilhelmshaven refinery was built in 1975 by original owner Mobil Oil. According to a 2007 article about the facility in ConocoPhillips' quarterly Spirit magazine, the refinery was mothballed in the mid-1980s. Early the next decade a joint venture recommissioned the facility, which would ultimately be owned by Louis Dreyfus. ConocoPhillips bought the refinery in 2006.
The 260,000-b/d refinery produces transportation fuels, fuel oil and intermediate feedstocks. According to ConocoPhillips, Wilhelmshaven as of Jan. 1, 2007, had the capacity to produce 36,000 b/d of gasoline and 102,000 b/d of distillates (this figure includes diesel as well as aviation and jet fuel). Its Nelson Complexity Factor is 5.0 and its clean product yield is 53%. The fact that the refinery's product mix has long been weighted toward diesel--as opposed to the gasoline bias of many other European refineries--has helped the relatively simple refinery respond to growing demand for the fuel.
The refinery primarily processes low-sulfur crudes produced in the North Sea. Products from Wilhelmshaven are distributed within Germany, throughout Europe, and to the United States.
ConocoPhillips announced in March 2008 that it plans to upgrade the refinery so that it can produce higher-value products from a wider variety of crude slates. It will upgrade Wilhelmshaven to a full conversion facility with 223,000 b/d crude capacity; presently the facility is a hydroskimming refinery. ConocoPhillips intends to make the facility more complex by adding new coker, hydrocracker, and hydrogen plants. The company also plans to add deep conversion and power generation capabilities to the plant. These additions will allow the plant run a more advantage crude slate, including Russian Export blends, while increasing overall conversion and reducing operating costs. The upgrade project is expected to increase the refinery's clean products yield to 80% and provide a high yield of ultra low sulfur diesel in the distillate short market.
In November 2009, ConocoPhillips announced that it was delaying the project to meet changing market and capital budget constraints.
The construction phase would provide approximately 5,000 jobs to locals.
On July 22, 2010, ConocoPhillips announced that it was cancelling the project. In fact, the company may sell the refinery or convert it into a terminal.