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Tech & Science With the cessation of refining at Grandpuits, Total is cutting 150 jobs but "no layoffs"

18:10  24 september  2020
18:10  24 september  2020 Source:   latribune.fr

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  Avec l'arrêt du raffinage à Grandpuits, Total supprime 150 postes mais © Supplied by La Tribune

The Total group announced on Thursday the conversion of its Grandpuits (Seine-et-Marne) refinery into one " zero oil platform ", with 150 job cuts without" any dismissal ", but for the unions," the account is not there ".

"By 2024, thanks to an investment of more than 500 million euros, the platform will revolve around four new industrial activities: the production of biofuels mainly intended for the aviation sector, the production of bioplastics, the recycling of plastics, the operation of two solar photovoltaic plants, ”the group explains in a statement.

The shutdown of refining is scheduled for the first quarter of 2021, and the end of storage of petroleum products at the end of 2023. Total ensures that the conversion will not lead to "any layoffs, thanks to early retirement and internal mobility towards 'other sites of the group ".

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"Grandpuits will remain a major industrial site which will rely on the know-how and skills of its teams, and in which our partner companies will also have their place", said Bernard Pinatel, CEO of the Refining-Chemicals branch of Total, quoted in the press release.

250 positions will be maintained out of the 400 workstations currently comprising the Grandpuits platform and the associated depot at Gargenville (Yvelines). Fifteen jobs are to be created on the Grandpuits site in a downstream packaging unit.

"The account is not there", reacted to AFP Thierry Defresne, CGT Total Raffinage Pétrochimie union representative. "If we count all the Total positions, including the contractors absent from the organization chart, we are at 209 job cuts at Total", not to mention "500 subcontractor jobs".

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He also considers the investment announced to be overestimated by the group since it is partly partnerships. The CGT delegate at Grandpuits Adrien Cornet severely denounced the group's policy in a tweet. "Total relocates the refining of Grandpuits and leaves families on the streets under the guise of energy transition, but smashes natural parks in Mozambique to increase profits," he accuses.

The FCE-CFDT said it was ready to discuss, on condition of remaining "very cautious on the social side". "There is responsible ecology, and there are also the employees, commented to AFP Geoffrey Caillon, refining union representative. We must find a fair balance."

"This is not good news for the region but we will try to ensure that it can be at least a successful ecological and energy transition", commented the deputy of Seine-et-Marne Jean-Louis Thiériot ( LR), recalling that "Grandpuits represented 30% of the region's fuel supply".

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Reduced production capacity

According to the group, Total's decision follows the audit carried out over several months on the Ile-de-France pipeline (PLIF), which links Grandpuits to Le Havre over 260 km and enables supply in crude from the refinery.

Following leaks in 2014 and then 2019, which had caused activity to stop for several months, the maximum operating pressure of the pipeline had been reduced. The refinery has only been running at 70% of its capacity since, "threatening its economic sustainability", according to the group.

"If Total had made more drastic investment choices for maintenance or replacement of tired pipes, today we would not be there," lamented Geoffrey Caillon. "Of the 258 km, nearly 200 km will rot underground and the State does nothing, added the CGT. We must secure this pipeline and proceed with its dismantling."

The project provides for the commissioning in 2024 of a biofuel plant with a processing capacity of 400,000 tonnes per year. A plastics recycling plant with a processing capacity of 15,000 tonnes per year is also due to be commissioned in 2023.

The site will also host "the first European plant for PLA" (polylactic acid), a bioplastic manufactured in from sugar, as well as two photovoltaic plants with a capacity of 28 MWp in Grandpuits and 24 MWp in Gargenville.

The shutdown of the refinery's activity will have "no impact on the proper functioning of service stations and airports in the Ile-de-France region", which will be supplied by the refineries of Donges, reassures the group .

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