Total temporarily cut base oil production at its Gonfreville, France, refinery on March 10, citing a weak market and economy, a company spokesperson confirmed to Lube Report.
Located in the Normandy region, the Gonfreville refinery has Totals only wholly owned base oil plant in Europe. The Gonfreville plant has 9,600 barrels per day of API Group I capacity and 800 b/d Group III capacity, according to the LubesnGreases 2011 Guide to Global Base Oil Refining.
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It is partially halted, and for a while only, a Total spokesperson told Lube Report, referring to base oil production. The cost of vacuum gas oil − which is used as a feedstock − has increased, while prices of base oil have fallen. While the line is halted, maintenance is being carried out. The line will be restarted as soon as the economic situation improves.
The spokesperson declined to provide any figures regarding the plants current base oil output or capacity.
In May 2011, Total said it would supply Europe with new volumes of bright stock and heavy grades of base oils in 2012 to 2013 from the Gonfreville plant. The plan was to increase production of bright stocks and heavy neutrals, and make less light products, by changing crudes. The plans didnt call for significantly increasing total base oil capacity at the refinery.