Total olans to invest over €1 bln in France to adapt and consolidate refining and petrochemicals operations and pursue growth in solar energy.
In its pursuit of growth in solar energy and, in partnership with GDF Suez, it plans to build a plant in the Carling region in eastern France to manufacture silicon wafers for the photovoltaic industry. The initial investment for the plant, which will employ approximately 100 people, is estimated at €70 mln.
An industrial plan has been announced at a special meeting of the Central Works Council to adapt its refining base in France, primarily by reconfiguring the Normandy refinery and rescaling certain corporate departments at headquarters in Paris.
The Normandy refinery project will shift the production emphasis to diesel at an estimatd investment outlay of €70 mln, reducing its refining capacity to 12 mln tpa from 16 mln tpa. At the same time, the distillate hydrocracker (DHC) commissioned in 2006, which enables diesel production, will be upsized. This will increase annual average diesel output by 10% and reduce surplus gasoline output by 60%, as well as reduce carbon emissions from the refinery by approximately 25%, or 1 mln tpa.
An estimated €230 mln will be invested to bring to the most efficient level the energy efficiency and competitive strength of the steamcracker and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) unit in Gonfreville and to consolidate polystyrene production at the Carling facility. This will result in closure of structurally loss-making units- a low-density polyethylene line in Carling in eastern France and a low-density polyethylene line and a polystyrene line in Gonfreville in northwestern France. The plan will streamline production facility organization, concentrate customer technical support and rescale Paris headquarters operations to the company's new scope. The Lacq Research Center in southwestern France will be expanded to focus on state-of-the-art activities for all of Total's businesses.
Following the sole customer's termination of supply contract for secondary butyl alcohol produced at the Notre-Dame-de-Gravenchon facility in northwestern France, Total Petrochemicals France will have to close this dedicated facility.
The planned investments will create an average of over 1,000 jobs a year between 2009 and 2011, which will have a significant impact on economic activity and employment of the regions concerned. Implementation of this project, which is concurrent with but not linked to the Total Refining & Marketing plan, is subject to prior consultation with employee representatives from Total Petrochemicals France.