Total to Revamp Gonfreville Base Oil Plant


Total plans to shut down API Group I production at its base oil plant in Gonfreville, France, to focus on production of higher quality base oils for use in automotive engine oil, according to multiple news reports last week.

By deadline, Total did not respond to Lube Reports requests for comment.

At a works council meeting Nov. 21, Total was to notify worker unions of its plan to modernize specialty products at the Normandy site, Reuters reported Nov. 19, attributing to a Total spokesman. The Gonfreville refinery is part of the Normandy site.

According to multiple French news outlets reports, Totals management said in a statement that the program to modernize its specialties offerings would decrease the Gonfreville plants base oil production capacity by about half to 260,000 metric tons per year. The plan would also optimize diesel production.

The Gonfreville plant in northern France currently has about 9,600 barrels per day (501,000 t/y) of Group I production capacity and 800 b/d (39,000 t/y) of Group III production capacity, according to the LubesnGreases 2014 Guide to Global Base Oil Refining.

Total temporarily cut base oil production at the Gonfreville plant in March 2012, citing a weak market and economy.

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.

In 2007, Total conducted a basic engineering study for the installation of equipment that would add 180,000 t/y of Group III capacity to the Gonfreville refinery.

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