Total said last week that it has begun a basic engineering study for the installation of equipment that would add 180,000 metric tons per year of Group III base oil capacity to its refinery in Gonfreville, France. The study marks a step forward in a project that has been much anticipated but long delayed.
Total spokeswoman Bertille Aron told Lube Report last week that the company recently began studying the possibility of adding a catalytic dewaxing unit that would process hydrocracker bottoms into Group III base oils. The study will not be finished until the end of this year, and management will wait until then to make a final decision about whether to install the unit. As currently envisioned, Aron said, the project would cost 234 million (U.S. $315 million), would have capacity to make 180,000 tons per year (3,500 barrels per day) of Group III stocks, and would come online by the beginning of 2011. She added, though, that some details may change when a final decision is made.