Total's Provence refinery upgrades to begin

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, Oct. 5 -- Total SA's 158,000 b/d Provence refinery at La Mede on the French Riviera will undergo a €100 million turnaround of its western installations scheduled to last 2 months starting Oct. 6.

The eastern units will continue to operate, ensuring delivery of products. A turnaround is slated every 5-6 years, but this one is unusually significant.

Total indicates that it is "a real challenge" for the refinery with 60 projects earmarked in order to improve the safety of installations, reduce their environmental footprint, and optimize production. The major projects to be carried out include:

-- The catalytic cracker furnace will be replaced, at a cost of €12.8 million, in order to bolster the safety of the installation and the workers, reduce by 15% the plant's sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide emissions, and improve the refinery's energy efficiency while increasing the processing capacity of the installation by some 50 tonnes/day.

-- The Alkylation visbreaker modernization will cost €8.7 million. It will require 45 km of extra cabling to introduce 200 new instruments and replace some 30 security valves.

-- A new flare stack tip costing €1.2 million will reduce both smoke and noise, achieving the modernization of both flares at the refinery within the last 4 years.

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