France's Total to shut Carling naphtha cracker, add C4 resin unit

04 September 2013 16:37 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Total confirmed on Wednesday that it is to shut down the naphtha cracker at its site in Carling, northern France.

The 320,000 tonne/year unit, which the France-based oil and gas major described as “acutely loss-making”, is to close in the second half of 2015, according to Total.

The closure will lead to a net loss of 210 jobs from the site’s 554 headcount without redundancies.

Of the 344 jobs to be maintained at the platform, 110 will come from the planned upgrades, Total added.

“The European petrochemicals market is facing continued overcapacity and growing international competition. In such context, it is our industrial responsibility to anticipate and adapt our production capacities to demand,” the company said.

Total plans to develop new activities on the site in order to “restore its competitiveness”.

It plans to construct a new production unit for C4 resins, while the existing C9 resins unit for adhesives will be transformed to produce transparent resins.

The site will also be the centre of the company’s European research and development activities for the sector, the company said.

Total is also planning to renovate polymer production at the site, with the creation of a new thermoplastics unit to produce automotive plastics, a capacity expansion for polystyrene (PS) production, and upgrades to the polyethylene (PE) production unit to increase yields of advanced plastics.

The total cost of the upgrades will be €160m ($211m), Total said.

The company did not specify the scale of the planned capacity increase for the 150,000 tonne/year PS production unit.

($1 = €0.76)

By Tom Brown