Total Expands Russian Blend Plant

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Total Expands Russian Blend Plant
A view of a packaging line at the Total Vostok blending plant in in Vorsino, Kaluga oblast, less than 100 kilometers southwest of Moscow, Russia. © ITAR-TASS News Agency/Alamy Live News

Total has decided to expand its three-year-old lubricant blending plant in Russia, stating that it is taking the action after a steady ramp-up in production volumes, including a 15% increase in 2020.

The French oil major said it will spend U.S. $2 million to increase capacity of the plant in Vorsino, Kaluga Oblast, from 40,000 metric tons per year to 70,000 t/y.

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Total Vostok, the company’s subsidiary in Russia, primarily deals with crude oil exploration and production, as well as the marketing of fuels and lubricants. In October 2018, the company opened the Vorsino plant after deciding to localize its lubricant manufacturing. Vorsino is less than 100 kilometers southwest of Moscow.

“In two years, the enterprise managed to reach the nominal production capacity of 40,000 tons of automotive and industrial lubricants per year,” the company said in a news release.  

In 2020, Total reduced imports of finished products that it markets in Russia and continued to localize production of products such as lubricants for agricultural and heavy machinery. In Vorsino, Total produces a range of lubricants sold under its flagship Total and Elf brands.

The company also expanded its export destinations last year. In addition to shipping to Russia’s bordering countries, like Belarus and Ukraine, it has started to market products to some countries of Central Asia and Scandinavia.

Holger Hannover, Total Vostok’s new chief operating officer, said the company minimized disruptions to its business last year.

“The plant suspended production only during the strict quarantine period determined by the local authorities, for only 25 days” in April and May,  Hannover said, adding that inventories were sufficient for the company to maintain uninterrupted supply for clients throughout 2020.

He claimed that competitors “faced serious delays in supply of lubricants” but that Total’s “competently planned plant and warehouse workflow, gave us a competitive advantage in these trying times.”

He added that the company is also working to become more environmentally sustainable. “It means reduction of the average CO2 product footprint and zero CO2 emissions by 2050,” Hannover said. “In accordance with this initiative, the company is currently actively developing projects for reduction of the plant’s CO2 emissions.”