TotalEnergies Buys Rerefiner Tecoil

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TotalEnergies Buys Rerefiner Tecoil
TotalEnergies' HQ in Paris La Defense. ©shutterstock / HJBC

TotalEnergies announced this week that it purchased Finnish rerefiner Str Tecoil Oy, another move reflecting Big Oil’s growing interest in used lubricant recycling.

TotalEnergies officials said they made the acquisition to facilitate the company’s use of rerefined base oils in its finished lubricants. Just last month the French energy giant launched a line of automotive engine oils made with rerefined base stocks.

“The integration of Tecoil into TotalEnergies will allow us to accelerate the use of RRBOs in the production of our high-end lubricants …,” Senior Vice President of Lubricants and Specialties Pierre Duhot said in a news release.

TotalEnergies did not disclose the price it is paying for Tecoil, which owns a rerefinery in Hamina, Finland, with capacity to make 50,000 metric per year of API Group II base stocks. Tecoil uses a network of waste lubricant collection in Europe to supply feedstock for the rerefinery.

This is the second instance of a major oil company buying a large stake in a rerefiner. In 2022, Shell purchased a 49% stake in Blue Tide Environmental LLC, which is building a plant in Texas scheduled to open this year. Eneos has undertaken an initiative to help establish rerefineries in Japan, but it is not clear if it plans to own any such facilities.

Waste oil rerefining capacity continues to grow, but nearly all facilities are owned and operated by significantly smaller businesses, most of which are focused on rerefining or in some cases have other operations in waste management and recycling.

The lubricant industry’s interest in rerefined oils appears to be growing as part of the sustainability movement. Rerefined base stocks offer a way to reduce finished lubricant product carbon footprints, compared to using virgin mineral base oils, and a way to reduce dependence on crude oil.

TotalEnergies last month launched its Quartz and Rubia EV3R engine oils for passenger cars and heavy-duty trucks, saying they are made with rerefined base oils but still carry original equipment manufacturer approvals.