Total confirms Dunkirk refinery closure, plans to open new ventures

08 March 2010 14:27  [Source: ICIS news]

Total announces Dunkirk refinery closureLONDON (ICIS news)--Total will permanently shut down refining operations at Dunkirk in France due to a collapse in demand but will retain staff and develop new business activities there, it said on Monday.

The oil and gas group has presented its “repurposing” plan to its central works council, which outlines intentions to open an operations support centre, a refining training centre and a logistics depot.

“The collapse in petroleum product demand in France, Europe and the United States has compelled Total to adjust its refining capacity, in particular in northern France,” the company said in a statement.

“The Flandres refinery reported a loss of more than €130m ($177m) in 2009. Production was halted in September 2009. Given the poor outlook, resuming refining operations at the site is no longer considered viable.

“Under the plan, the Flandres refinery will be shut down permanently, resulting in a gradual dismantling of units that could continue into 2013.”

Total said it would also study the possibility of maintaining an existing ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE) unit at the site, and said it had also signed an agreement with energy company EDF to participate in its planned Dunkirk LNG terminal.

The company stressed there would be no job losses, saying it would retain two-thirds of employees at the site with the remainder either redeployed to other Total facilities or offered early retirement.

Last month, around 7,000 direct employees, suppliers and subcontractors at Total’s French refineries went on strike for a week to demand a restart of the Dunkirk site.

($1 = €0.73)

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By: Graeme Paterson
+44 20 8652 3214



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