Energy Transition Total Is Investing More Than €500 Million to Convert Its Grandpuits Refinery Into a Zero-crude Platform for Biofuels and Bioplastics
Within the framework of its net zero strategy, Total (Paris:FP) (LSE:TTA) (NYSE:TOT) will convert its Grandpuits refinery (Seine-et-Marne) into a zero-crude platform. By 2024, following an investment totaling more than €500 million, the platform will focus on four new industrial activities:
- Production of renewable diesel primarily intended for the aviation industry.
- Production of bioplastics.
- Plastics recycling.
- Operation of two photovoltaic solar power plants.
Meanwhile, crude oil refining at the platform will be discontinued in the first quarter of 2021 and storage of petroleum products will end in late 2023. Operations at service stations and airports in the Greater Paris region will not be affected: they will be supplied by the refineries at Donges—currently undergoing a €450 million modernization—and Normandy.
This decision to end its oil refining comes in the wake of an audit conducted over several months on the 260-kilometer Ile-de-France pipeline (PLIF), which carries crude oil from the Port of Le Havre to the Grandpuits refinery.
The refinery was forced to shut down for more than five months in 2019 when a leak appeared on the PLIF, following an earlier leak near Le Havre in 2014. With the approval of government officials, the PLIF’s maximum working pressure was reduced to ensure safe operation. As a result, the refinery could operate at only 70% of its capacity, threatening its long-term financial viability.
The audit found that normal operations at the refinery could be restored only by replacing the PLIF, at a cost of nearly €600 million. Given France’s plans for the energy transition up to 2040, therefore, Total has decided to end its oil refining at Grandpuits and embark on an industrial transformation of the site, backed by a major investment plan.
“With the industrial repurposing of the Grandpuits refinery into a zero-crude platform focused on energies of the future connected with biomass and the circular economy, Total is demonstrating its commitment to the energy transition and reaffirming its ambition to achieve carbon neutrality in Europe by 2050,” says Bernard Pinatel, President of Total Refining & Chemicals. “Grandpuits will remain a major industrial site drawing on the know-how and expertise of its teams, and our partner firms will be playing a key role as well.”