Total to convert Grandpuits crude oil refinery into zero-crude platform

French oil and gas giant Total said that it will invest over €500 million for modifying its Grandpuits crude oil refinery in Seine-et-Marne, France to producing biofuels and bioplastics.

The new zero-crude platform of Total will concentrate on four new industrial activities. These include renewable diesel mainly for the use in the aviation industry, production of bioplastics, recycling of plastics, and operation of two photovoltaic solar power plants with a combined capacity of 52MW.

According to Total, crude oil refining at the platform will be stopped in Q1 2021 and storage of petroleum products will end in the fag end of 2023.

The French oil and gas giant said that operations at service stations and airports in the Greater Paris region will not be impacted. They will be supplied by the refineries located at Normandy and also Donges, which are presently going through a €450 million modernization.

Total said that the decision to stop its oil refining follows an audit carried out on the 260-kilometer Ile-de-France pipeline (PLIF), which transports crude oil from the Port of Le Havre to the Grandpuits crude oil refinery.

The French energy company said that the crude oil refinery had to be shut down for more than five months last year due to a leak on the Ile-de-France pipeline.

Following the approval of government officials, the maximum working pressure of PLIF was cut down to ensure safety of operations. Due to this, the Grandpuits crude oil refinery could operate at just 70% of its capacity, thereby impacting its long-term financial viability.

As per the audit, normal operations at the French crude oil refinery could be restored only by replacing the PLIF pipeline at a cost of around €600 million.

Total to convert Grandpuits crude oil refinery into zero-crude platform

Total to convert Grandpuits crude oil refinery into zero-crude platform. Photo courtesy of Tangopaso/

Considering France’s plans for the energy transition up to the year 2040, Total came to a decision to stop its oil refining at Grandpuits refinery and take up an industrial transformation of the site, underpinned by a major investment plan.

Bernard Pinatel – President of Total Refining & Chemicals said: “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.

“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.”

The converted Grandpuits crude oil refinery will have three new industrial units – a bio-refinery, a bioplastics plant, and a plastics recycling plant.

The bio-refinery will have a renewable diesel unit, which is slated to be commissioned in 2024 will have a processing capacity of 400,000 tons per year. It will produce 170,000 tons of sustainable aviation fuel, 120,000 tons of renewable diesel, and 50,000 tons of renewable naphtha for producing bioplastics.

The second unit at the converted Grandpuits crude oil refinery will be a €200 million PLA bioplastics plant to be built by Total Corbion PLA, a 50/50 joint venture between Total and Corbion.

On the other hand, the plastics recycling plant at the refinery will be built alongside Plastic Energy. Total will have 60% stake while Plastic Energy will hold a 40% stake in what will be the first chemical recycling plant in France.

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