March 19, 2020 / 9:12 PM / 14 days ago

Coronavirus disrupts some of Total's French refinery plans: union delegate

PARIS (Reuters) - French oil major Total has delayed the restart of its 102,000 barrels per day (bpd) Grandpuits refinery near Paris by eight days to April 1 due to the coronavirus outbreak, CGT union delegate Thierry Defresne said on Thursday.

Other sources said the maintenance work at the company’s 110,000 bpd Feyzin refinery was suspended following the lockdown put in place by the government to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Total said in a statement on Feb. 10 that the maintenance and upgrade works at Feyzin, which started on Feb. 14, would make technical improvements, reduce energy consumption and CO2 emission from the refinery.

It was expected to resume production in early April.

Defresne said staff presence at Feyzin has been reduced to around 300 to keep running only what is necessary, from around 2,000 people that were present at the site during the maintenance.

Total declined to comment.

France, like several other countries, has put its 67 million residents under lockdown since Tuesday to curb the spread of the coronavirus that has killed 372 in the country as of Thursday.

The lockdown has led to a shutdown of output at several industrial sectors.

Defresne said Total has drastically reduced personnel at its refining and chemicals units with most non-essential staffs working from home, while many satellite units at refineries have been halted.

“As everywhere else in France, workers are worried about the spread of the virus and the safety measures and equipments put in place to protect them,” he said, adding that those have been improved since the outbreak.

Reporting by Bate Felix; Writing by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy

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