Total Invests in South Africa Plant

Total recently completed an upgrade of its lubricant blending plant in Durban, South Africa, including construction of laboratory, part of a plan to bolster its business there and in neighboring countries.

An official at Total South Africa confirmed that the company recently completed the 70 million rand (U.S. $5.3 million) project, which included an upgrade of unspecified equipment, along with construction of the lab, at the facility in Durbans Island View Terminal, but otherwise declined to comment. Local news organizations reported recently that the project aimed at improving quality and efficiency.

The plant has capacity to make approximately 45,000 metric tons per year of finished lubricants, Some of the output is sold within South Africa, but some is exported to other parts of Southern Africa.

In an article from last month, Engineering News, which is based in South Africa, quoted Total South Africa Chief Project Officer Pierre-Yves Sachet saying that the company also invested additional funds in staffing, processes and to reorganize its business channels.

Patrick Swan, Principal Consultant at ASWAN Consultancy and former President of the South Africa Institute of Tribology, said Totals investment may indicate it wants to increase sales from the Durban plant, but he suggested that any such growth plans may involve neighboring countries. The lubricant industry in South Africa is pretty mature, he said. Total South Africa is responsible for its business in that country as well as Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland.