By GERALDINE AMIEL
PARIS -- French integrated oil and gas group Total said
Wednesday that it plans to shut down a loss-making
steam-cracker in Carling, Eastern France, cutting 210 jobs
The steam-cracker, which refines crude oil into chemical
components to make plastics, is to be shut in the second half
of 2015, as part of a reshuffling of the industrial site, the
company said in a statement.
Total also said that it intends to invest 160 million euros
($211 million) in the Carling site in a bid to "adapt the petrochemical platform" and "restore
The investments at the site will include the creation of a
thermoplastics unit, making innovative plastics for the car
industry, the reinforcement of its polystyrene production and
an upgrade of its polyethylene production unit.
Following the closure of the steam-cracker from 2016, the
site will employ 344 people, including 110 positions set to be
created by the new production units.
Total CEO Christophe de Margerie said last week that the
group, which is seeking to boost profitability for its
downstream activities such as refining and chemical making, was
planning some restructuring in France.
Total has already shut down one of the two steam-crackers at
Carling, in 2009.
The company has been grappling over the past five years with
falling refining margins and weakening
demand for oil-refined products against the backdrop of the
economic crisis in Europe and tough competition from
low-cost basic chemical-makers from emerging countries.
Mr. de Margerie said earlier this summer that it could well
trim further refining capacity in France, should
margins keep declining and demand continue to fall.
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