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REFINERY NEWS: Total to convert France's Grandpuits into bio plant

Increase font size  Decrease font size Date:2020-09-24   Views:34
Refinery: Grandpuits, France

Owner: Total

Overall capacity: 101,000 b/d

Notes: 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, according 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.

Source: union, media report
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