Fawley oil refinery helps create half of all vaccine containers
UP to half of all the vial stoppers in Covid-19 vaccines across the world may have been manufactured using material made at Fawley, according to the oil refinery.
The ExxonMobil site has become a key supplier in the vaccine chain as its chemicals unit supplies products such as halobuytl - a rubber component used in the production of the vials that hold the vaccines.
Jamie Renshaw, Fawley's chemicals technical manager, said halobutyl was perfect because it created a strong, impermeable barrier that does not fragment when pierced by a syringe, as required for a Covid-19 vaccine vial.
He said: “By providing approximately 70% of all ExxonMobil pharmaceutical grade rubber, Fawley is making a significant contribution to the Covid-19 vaccine supply chain.
"In fact, we believe that in the region of half of all the rubber that goes into the vial stoppers globally may originate from Fawley.”
Mr Renshaw added: “As we are all only too well aware, Covid-19 continues to be a massive global challenge, affecting whole populations in ways that most of us would not have predicted just over a year ago.
"Throughout the pandemic, ExxonMobil Fawley has remained a reliable supplier to the pharmaceutical industry, making sure that we play our part in the fight against this disease.”
Fawley also produces a range of higher olefins, which are chemicals used in industrial and consumer products, and recently used in the Madrid equivalent of the UK's Nightingale hospitals.
During the pandemic, Fawley’s higher olefins production has also produced PPE such as protective goggles, vinyl gloves, and personal facemasks, and made ExxalTM 8, an alcohol used in the production of a special type of adhesive found in masks and respirators.
The chemicals site is also part of ExxonMobil’s global IsoparTM production, which makes four different grades of high-purity synthetic isoparaffin – fluids that can be used in the manufacture of medical products, including sterile packaging and cleaning agents.
It is also the only site within the global company to produce methyl ethyl ketone, a chemical liquid which plays a key role in the production of pharmaceuticals.