Veolia, Total Team to Recycle Used Oil

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Veolia Environnement and Total on Nov. 30 announced the creation of Osilub, a joint venture to develop a sustainable used motor oil recycling business.

As part of the initiative, Osilub will build a plant in the northern French city of Grand-Quevilly with capacity to rerefine 120,000 metric tons of used oil per year. The 50 million (U.S. $66.6 million) facility, which is scheduled to open in 2008, will produce mostly the equivalent of vacuum gas oil for further refining into base stock and fuel.

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The companies said the project is in line with their sustainable development programs and will help to efficiently manage product life cycles and promote the conservation of natural resources.

This project is based on existing and future European hazardous waste regulations, which give priority to recycling [as opposed to] energy recovery, Osilub Managing Director Jacques Tricard said. Veolia is the main collector of used motor oil in France, and Total is the main French lubricant producer and has an environmental duty [concerning] the disposal of their products.

The project was first announced a few years ago, and was scheduled to open last year. It was postponed, however, by the bankruptcy of Probex, a U.S. firm that was originally a partner and technology provider, and by delays in obtaining permits. After Probex fell out of the project, Total was recruited and took a 35 percent stake in the joint venture.

Tricard said Osilub will still use the Probex rerefining technology, which the joint venture owns and which has been enhanced through assistance from Toulouse University. The 80,000 tons per year of vacuum gas oil produced by the plant will be transported to a nearby Total refinery for further processing. A Total spokesman said ultimate base oil yields will vary and depend on relative profitability of fuels and base stocks. In addition to vacuum gas oil, the project will produce 25,000 tons per year of diesel and asphalt.

Grand-Quevilly is located in the autonomous port zone of Rouen, in northern France.

Veolia Environnement, headquartered in Paris, is an environmental services company with a workforce of 300,000 employees. Total, based in Courbevoie, France, is one of the world’s major oil and gas groups, with 95,000 employees in more than 130 countries.

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