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Total expands styrene capacity in France

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Jan. 22 -- Total Petrochemicals has begun operations at its upgraded styrene unit in Gonfreville-l'Orcher, near Le Havre, France, making it one of the largest in Europe.

The company has expanded the unit's capacity at its petrochemicals complex by 210,000 tonnes/year (tpy), bringing it to 600,000 tpy.

In spring 2007, Total started to construct the styrene unit which was finished on schedule and on budget. It spent €320 million, including €20 million to adapt the site's infrastructure and improve safety and environmental standards.

By replacing the reactors, the unit's energy efficiency has increased by 30%. Total has been forced to cut its styrene production by 120,000 tpy by clsin its Carling unit in France in light of the economic downturn. It has rescaled and consolidated its operations at the Gonfreville complex.

"We are now ready to face the coming years with enhanced competitiveness in a very challenging market. We have also improved our energy efficiency performance," said Francois Cornelis, vice-chairman of Total's executive committee and president of the chemicals branch.

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