Geschichte der Raffinerie Heide in schwarz-weiß

The history of our oil refinery in Hemmingstedt Mineral oil – a presence in Dithmarschen and Schleswig-Holstein since 1856

Although Raffinerie Heide has only existed in its present form since 2010, our history actually began over 150 years ago, when oil-bearing sands were discovered in Hemmingstedt. In this timeline we drill down into the depths of the history of mineral oil in Dithmarschen and one of the most important oil refineries in Germany.

  1. 2015

    The company makes a successful transition to independence.

    Raffinerie Heide successfully expands its business and makes considerable progress in terms of crude oil selection, yield structure and customer focus.

  2. Raffinerie Heide Übernahme durch Klesch Group


    Raffinerie Heide is taken over by the Geneva-based Klesch Group. Wide-ranging restructuring of our production and administration activities ensures that the refinery will be well placed in future to focus on its role as a supplier for northern Germany, delivering products precisely tailored to the needs of local consumers and businesses.

  3. 2009

    The refinery begins using its superfluous exhaust heat to supply Gewerbepark Westküste, the neighbouring business park, with heating. This enables the company Vitarom Frischgemüse GmbH to heat its greenhouses to the right growing and harvesting temperatures for their 185,000 bell pepper and tomato plants. In other words, the heat we supply is responsible for creating new jobs in the Schleswig-Holstein region.

  4. 2004

    Shell Germany Oil GmbH becomes the new sole owner. Major investments in safety and production make the refinery one of the most modern installations in Europe.

  5. Raffinerie Heide zusammen betrieben durch Dea und Shell


    DEA Mineralöl GmbH and Shell Deutschland Oil GmbH run the refinery as a joint venture.

  6. 1998

    The plant is completely modernised. A newly built hydrocracker permits previously unseen levels of product yield. Meanwhile, further construction work leads to a major improvement in Raffinerie Heide’s. petrochemical range.

  7. 1988

    Energy company RWE takes over Deutsche Texaco AG in June. The Petroleum division of the Group – and thus Raffinerie Heide – trades under the name RWE Dea AG from now on.

  8. 1987

    A thermal pre-treatment plant reduces the amount of non-reusable heavy heating oil burnt at the plant.

  9. 1980

    A plant built to produce high-octane petrol means that lead no longer has to be added to inhibit knocking.

  10. 1976

    Two pipelines supply Hemmingstedt’s municipal swimming pool with free water heated to 45ºC, allowing the entry price to be reduced.

  11. 1973

    A further crude oil and vacuum distillation plant with sulphur recovery unit are commissioned, bringing the refinery’s capacity to 5.6 million tonnes of crude oil a year. However, due to the impending oil crisis, this output is never again reached.

  12. 1967

    Operations are taken over by Texaco AG.

  13. 1956

    The first petrochemical plant (aromatics) is commissioned.

  14. Raffinerie Heide Pipelinebau


    The first crude oil pipeline is built between Brunsbüttel and Hemmingstedt, with a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes of crude oil a year.

  15. 1952

    Germany’s first thermal catalytic cracking plant is commissioned

  16. 1949

    Mining operations and oil chalk extraction come to an end in Heide. Conversion to refinery-only operation begins.

  17. 1947

    Installations which are still able to be used are rebuilt.

  18. 1944

    The refinery is destroyed by repeated bombing raids.

  19. 1940

    Heide refinery operations begin. The German navy’s demand for fuel gives impetus for the construction of the first non-stop crude oil distillation operation in Hemmingstedt. Two crude oil distillation plants are built with an annual capacity of 100,000 tonnes.

  20. 1935

    The Holstein 2 borehole hits liquid oil at a depth of 400 metres. By 1940 annual production rises to 231,347 tonnes.

  21. 1922

    The company is renamed Holsteinische Erdölwerke GmbH. DPAG remains the majority shareholder.

  22. 1919

    DPAG, a subsidiary of DEA which was founded in 1911, becomes the new owner of the oil chalk mining operations.

  23. 1880

    An oil mining company is founded to extract Heide oil chalk.

  24. 1858

    Heide Asphalt Mining and Lighting Oil Factory (Asphaltgrube und Photogen-Fabrik zu Heide) is founded (and later closes its doors in 1866 due to severe competition from the USA).

  25. 1856

    Farmer Peter Reimers discovers oil-bearing sands on his land.

The pioneer, Dr Ludwig Meyn

Born in 1820 in Pinneberg, Germany, Dr Meyn was the son of a doctor.

He studied natural sciences in Berlin from 1840 and worked as a private lecturer in mineralogy and soil science.   

In 1856 he initiated the first targeted oil drilling in Germany, working in Lieth in the Dithmarschen district.

He heated up bituminous sands to produce heavy oil and distilled kerosene from this.

In 1865 he discovered a Cretaceous oil deposit at a depth of 160 m.

Dr Meyn died in Hamburg in 1878.

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