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December 3, 2014

Volume 17 Issue 52

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Workers Strike at Total's Gonfreville Refinery

Union workers began a 72-hour strike Monday at Totalís refinery in Gonfreville, France, over the companyís plans to modernize its specialties offerings and decrease API Group I base oil production there, according to multiple news reports.

A majority of the refineryís 135 base oil workers voted for the strike, which halted base oil production, Reuters reported Dec. 2, quoting an official with the CGT (General Confederation of Labour) union.

By deadline, Total and the CGT union office in France did not respond to Lube Reportís requests for comment.

According to multiple French news outletsí reports, Totalís management recently said in a statement that the program to modernize its specialties offerings would decrease the Gonfreville plantís base oil production capacity by about half to 260,000 metric tons per year. The plan would also optimize diesel production.

The Gonfreville plant in northern France currently has about 9,600 barrels per day (500,000 t/y) of Group I production capacity and 800 b/d (40,000 t/y) of Group III capacity, according to the LubesíníGreases 2014 Guide to Global Base Oil Refining.

Total temporarily cut base oil production at the Gonfreville plant in March 2012, citing a weak market and economy.