25 June 2012 00:00 [Source: ICB]
PICTURE CREDIT & CAPTION:Etienne Follet
The new facilities at Lacq will be operational from mid-2013
The companies said the redevelopment project, named Lacq Cluster Chimie 2030 (LCC30), will over the next 30 years help extend gas extraction in Lacq, at a lower flow rate, and hence supply energy and sulphur raw materials to companies in the area.
In particular, the investment will ensure the supply of hydrogen sulphide to Arkema's Lacq thiochemicals production site.
The new facilities will be operational from mid-2013, ahead of the planned shutdown of commercial production of natural gas by Total by December 2013. As a result, more than 1,000 jobs will be safeguarded, the companies said.
A new gas processing plant will produce the hydrogen sulphide for Arkema, and the combustible gas will be used to produce steam and electricity in SOBEGI's boilers for the benefit of existing and future manufacturers at the Lacq complex, said an Arkema spokeswoman.
"This investment will enable Arkema to ensure the long-term future of production at our Lacq thiochemicals site by guaranteeing the long-term supply of gas as well as competitive access to services and utilities," stated Marc Schuller, Arkema's executive vice president of industrial chemicals. The project will also allow Arkema to support the strong growth in applications for sulphur derivatives in the refining and petrochemicals markets, as well as the agricultural market, he added.
Michael Borrell, director for continental Europe and central Asia at Total Exploration & Production, said the recent decision by Toray to establish facilities at Lacq on land provided by Total demonstrates the appeal of the region. The Japanese fibers and textiles producer said in March that it would establish a production plant for carbon fiber precursor at the site.
SOBEGI, which is owned 60% by Total and 40% by Cofely GDF SUEZ, will contribute €110m to the LCC30 project, while Arkema will invest €36m and Total will invest €8m. Total's total contribution, both directly and as a SOBEGI shareholder, amounts to €66m. The project has also received some €6m of state funding.
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