EET appoints CEO to oversee Stanlow transformation

EET Fuels appoints new chief executive of division that will oversee the transformation of Stanley close to the Mersey into the ‘world’s first decarbonised oil refinery’. Tony McDonough reports

Rob Wallace
Rob Wallace, chief executive at EET Hydrogen Power at Stanlow


EET Fuels has hired an experienced energy sector executive to oversee the transition of Stanlow into what it hopes will become the world’s first decarbonised oil refinery.

Rob Wallace will take the helm at EET Hydrogen Power at the huge complex in Ellesmere Port close to the River Mersey. Mr Wallace offers more than 25 years’ experience in the energy sector with roles at ESB, Centrica and Shell.

Most recently he was with the Irish electricity company, ESB, overseeing asset and plant commissioning, commercialisation and the establishment of processes and procedures at all levels at its Carrington Power Station.

Latterly in this role, he took up a newly created role in ESB’s asset development team as a hydrogen manager to deliver ESB’s net zero 2040 strategy.

At Stanlow he will oversee the construction of a new combined heat and power plant (CHP). This will play a significant role in reducing emissions at Stanlow.

More energy efficient than current processes, the CHP will initially deliver a 13% carbon dioxide emissions reduction from the site or 180,000 tonnes per year.

Once powered, a reduction of 740,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions will be achieved, equivalent to taking 350,000 cars off the road.

In a special report in early April, LBN revealed EET Fuels (part of the Essar Oil group) had plans to decarbonise the operations at Stanlow which provides employment for around 1,400 people.

Stanlow is to be the nerve centre of the HyNet hydrogen project. It will be home to a £3bn hydrogen production hub as well as a carbon capture facility. Expected to be operational by late 2027 the plant will supply hydrogen to industrial clients across the North West.

However, there are question marks over its green credentials. HyNet plans to produce hydrogen by burning natural gas with the resulting CO2 emissions captured and stored in porous rock in depleted gas fields under Liverpool Bay.

It has set an ambitious target of capturing 97% of emissions. But environmentalists and a number of energy experts believe this is not achievable and that so-called ‘blue hydrogen’ is just a ruse to allow the fossil fuel industry to prolong the use of gas.

In an interview with LBN in early April Richard Holden, a project manager at Stanlow, said he was confident the operation would be a success. And he explained how EET would use the hydrogen supply to decarbonise its own operations.


Essar Oil UK
A £45m hydrogen enabled furnace at the Stanlow oil refinery in Ellesmere Port. Picture by Tony McDonough


Furnaces are essential to an oil refinery. The process of refining crude oil means it has to be heated to around 470 degrees celsius. Stanlow’s ‘catcracker’ furnace alone accounts for almost half of the refinery’s annual emissions.

READ MORE: £6bn ‘barrage across the Mersey’ takes step forward

Essar has invested in a new £45m furnace which is now installed on the site. Although it can operate using conventional fuels it is also equipped to operate using hydrogen.

Rob Wallace said: “Through its ambitious hydrogen and industrial carbon capture projects, EET has made tremendous steps in recent years to become a leading example of innovation and decarbonisation in the UK

“I’m looking forward to working with the wider team to achieve these plans and support the region’s decarbonisation plans.”

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