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Total to convert Grandpuits in France into bio plant

September 23/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Total's Grandpuits refinery in north-central France will be converted into a plant for the production of bio plastics due to potentially costly repairs on the Ile-de-France pipeline (PLIF) bringing crude to the plant, reported S&P Global with reference to a CGT union source.

"A meeting of the CSEC [Comite Social et Economique Central or Social and Economics Central Committee] -- was called for Sept. 24 and we were told by Total management this morning that two points were added to the order of the day, which confirmed the conversion of Grandpuits refinery into an agro-plastics producing plant," a CGT union source told S&P Global Platts Sept. 22.

The refinery is expected to close in March 2021, the union source said.

According to the union source, the so-called "Projet Galaxie" will lead to the end of refining activity at Grandpuits and the likely loss of jobs. "In Seine-et-Marne there is a lot of beetroot production and thus the converted Grandpuits plant could get feedstocks from agricultural products and recycled plastics," the source said. "Biofuel production is a cash machine... a ton of biofuel produced at La Mede refinery has much more value than one ton of traditional oil product from the Antwerp refinery," the source added.

Total said July 6 that the company was carrying out an audit of the pipeline and the "longer term future of Grandpuits" depends upon "the viability of the pipeline," adding that it is "not prepared to work with units which have deficiencies."

The company said Sept. 22 that the Grandpuits project will not lead to job losses. "No one loses their job at Total when there are industrial changes. At Carling or at La Mede, there were no layoffs but retirements and internal moves to other sites," Total said.

La Mede stopped processing crude at the end of 2016 and started up as a biodiesel plant in 2019.

Grandpuits was offline between March and June this year, partly due to low demand during the coronavirus pandemic, but last year remained offline between late February and July after the pipeline which brings crude from Le Havre port leaked.

The pipeline currently was operating at 70% capacity in July, Total said at the time, adding that it was "looking at how much it would cost to replace the PLIF."

The reduced capacity means the refinery processes less crude, according to a report in Le Figaro newspaper. Meanwhile, the report also noted that the cost of replacing the pipeline would be further raised by a large-scale maintenance at the plant planned for March 2021.

As MRC wrote before, French energy major Total said in April that its joint USD5 billion petrochemical project with Saudi Aramco in the Saudi city of Jubail would not be hit by planned cuts in investment, although the partners were focused on controlling costs.

We remind that in November 2019, Total disclosed that itis evaluating construction of a new gas cracker at its Deasan, South Korea, joint venture (JV) with Hanwha Chemical.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall PE production totalled 1,712,400 tonnes in the first seven months of 2020, up by 58% year on year. Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) accounted for the greatest increase in the output. At the same time, overall PP production in Russia increased in January-July 2020 by 24% year on year to 1,063,700 tonne. ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for the main increase in the output.

Total S.A. is a French multinational oil and gas company and one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies in the world with business in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Asia. The company's petrochemical products cover two main groups: base chemicals and the consumer polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene) that are derived from them.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:bioplastics, PP, PE, LLDPE, crude and gaz condensate, propylene, ethylene, petrochemistry, Total Petrochemicals, Russia, France, South Korea.
Category:General News
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