Corrected: Total to invest €1bn in modernising Antwerp site

22 May 2013 18:47 Source:ICIS News

Correction: In the ICIS story headlined "Total to invest €1bn in modernising Antwerp site" dated 22 May 2013, please read in the second paragraph ...the closure of the site's oldest polytheylene plant... instead of ...the closure of the site's oldest ethylene plant... A corrected story follows.

LONDON (ICIS)--Total is to invest €1bn ($1.3bn) in modernising its production facilities at Antwerp in Belgium, including a new hydrocracking unit and a scheme to convert refinery gases into low-cost petrochemical feedstocks, the France-based oil and gas company said on Wednesday.

The plans also include the closure of the site’s oldest polyethylene plant by mid-2014 and the permanent shutdown of a steam cracker, which is currently idled. No job losses are anticipated, with the site’s workforce to remain at around 1,700, Total added.

“The approval of this upgrade plan is a milestone for the further development of the Antwerp facilities into one of the most profitable platform of the refining and chemicals business of Total,” said Total refining and chemicals president Patrick Pouyanne.

The modernisation is to include the development of a new refinery upgrading complex, consisting of a solvent de-asphalting unit and a mild hydrocracking unit, intended primarily to convert heavy fuel oils into desulphurised diesel and low-sulphur heating oil, with start-up expected in early 2016.

There are also plans to convert refinery fuel gases into low-cost petrochemical feedstocks to be used in place of oil-based naphtha, with the facility expected to come on stream in early 2017.

“Total is demonstrating not only its commitment to maintaining its position as a competitive industry leader in Europe and but also its ability to adapt to market trends by reducing its production capacities and emphasising higher value-added products that meet the most stringent environmental standards,” added Pouyanne.

Total’s Antwerp site produces fuel oil, gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), diesel and jet fuel, as well as olefins, C4 fractions and aromatics, some of which are used to produce polymers.

($1 = €0.78)

By Tom Brown