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Home News Total geared to start mega project in Antwerp

Total geared to start mega project in Antwerp

Published on 25/01/2012

Since taking over the reins at Total Belgium from Belgian CEO François Cornélis, 48-year-old Frenchman Patrick Pouyanné yesterday announced in his first Belgian newspaper interviews that Total plans a mega investment at its Antwerp refinery. Within the next five years, Total will spend 800 million euros to increase its diesel production in addition to 200 million euros on petrochemical installations in the Antwerp harbour. According to Pouyanné, the Total top management will decide this year whether or not to invest heavily in the conversion of their European refinery activities. Their plans for Antwerp are in strong contrast to the tremendous uncertainty about the future of BRC, another oil refinery operation in the harbour. Pouyanné yesterday pointed to the fact that Total’s refineries in Europe face the same problems as BRC, saying: “Due to the drop in car fuels since the economic crisis and the continuous overcapacity, there are no more profit figures at oil refineries.” He puts the current overcapacity in Europe at an estimated 1 million barrels per day. Europe’s biggest refinery group Petroplus could become the first victim of this problematic economic situation, says Pouyanné. “The business model of focusing only on oil refinery is no longer an option since the crisis in 2008.” Petroplus, with its five refineries in Europe, refines 750,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Total is convinced it can structurally improve the profitability of its refining by means of major investments, hence the investment project in Antwerp. They are however not interested in a BRC takeover, but Pouyanné does suggest that one of the new energy producing countries in Central Asia or China could be interested.