A new hydrocracker at Totals Gonfreville, France, oil refinery has potential to produce 500,000 metric tons per year of base oil feedstock beginning next month. It remains to be seen, however, whether that leads to a significant increase in the amount of base oil actually produced in the regions tightened market.
The French energy giant announced July 31 that it has begun starting up the first units associated with a distillate hydrocracker and that all units should be commissioned and producing at full capacity by the end of September. The 550 million project was undertaken primarily to increase output of sulfur-free diesel fuel and kerosene, but will also yielda substantial volumeof hydrocracker bottoms. The latter can be used as base oil feedstock or be cracked further to make automotive fuel.
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