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Crude oil supplies

Our refinery at Fawley processes around 270,000 barrels of crude oil every day. Crude oil is transported by sea to the refinery's modern marine terminal, which handles around 2,000 ship movements and 22 million tonnes of crude oil and other products every year. The crude oil is pumped into storage tanks before being processed.

Each crude oil type has a unique composition and is a complex mixture containing many thousands of hydrocarbon molecules of different shapes and sizes. Crude oil from the North Sea is 'sweet', which means it is low in sulphur, whilst Middle East crude is 'sour' with a high sulphur content.

Not all crude oils are suitable for the production of all petroleum products. Before deciding which crude oil to process, consideration is given to the current demand for particular products, market prices and the various costs of the different crude oils.

It is also vital that appropriate feedstocks are available for ExxonMobil's chemical manufacturing plant that is adjacent to and integrated with the refinery.

Typically, the refinery will process over 20 different crude oils in any one year. This requires extremely sophisticated planning and highly flexible refinery operations.