Antwerp: Total's largest integrated complex in Europe

Location: Antwerp (Belgium)
Operator: Total (100%)

>1
billion euros invested to upgrade the Antwerp complex
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Total is one of the world’s top ten integrated oil and gas processing companies. Our facilities include the immense Antwerp refining and petrochemicals complex, our largest in Europe. To meet growing global demand and address new market trends, we upgraded and adapted the site to focus production on higher-value-added products that meet the most stringent environmental standards. The aim is to make the complex one of the top performers in the industry.

A Highly Efficient Integrated Complex

The complex is ideally situated in Antwerp’s port area, in the thriving Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam (ARA) hub serving Europe’s oil markets. The site comprises Europe’s third-largest refinery, which processes 338,000 barrels of oil per day, a petrochemical plant and a facility that produces polymers, with a capacity of 1.1 million tons per year of ethylene. 
 
With nearly 1,700 employees, the Antwerp complex produces a range of petroleum products, including heavy fuel oil, gasoline, LPG, diesel and jet fuel. It also manufacturers base chemicals, such as olefins, C4 fractions (from butane) and aromatics, some of which are processed into polymers (high density polyethylene). These products are used in a number of consumer and industrial applications, such as packaging and automotive components.

An Extensive Upgrade

The European market is being reshaped. Demand for fuel oil is shrinking, the share of automotive diesel is up slightly and regulations on sulfur content are increasingly strict. To meet these challenges, in 2013 we decided to invest more than €1 billion to upgrade our Antwerp complex
 
Our objectives were to respond to market demand by manufacturing more light products that meet the strictest environmental standards, make the complex more flexible so it can use the most cost-advantaged feedstocks available and increase synergies between refining and petrochemicals. 
 
Inaugurated in November 2017, the upgrade in fact consisted of three projects:
  • OPTARA (OPTimization of the Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam area) Project: The atmospheric residue desulfurization (ARDS) unit was revamped; this included expanding the capacity of one of its trains and converting the other into a mild hydrocracker. A new deasphalting unit and a new distillation train for the hydrocracker were built. The aim is to transform more heavy fuel oil into light products that meet the new E.U. specifications.
  • ROG (Refinery Off-Gas) Project: A unit was built to recover gas produced by the refinery and transform it into a feedstock for petrochemicals, to replace more expensive naphtha. 
  • Ethane Project: One of the complex’s two steam crackers was revamped and the site’s logistics adapted so that it could import 200,000 tons of ethane per year from Norway by ship. The project gives the steam cracker more flexibility, allowing it to run on ethane, butane or naphtha. Advantaged feedstocks may account for over 50% of total supply.
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The project illustrates Total’s strategy of upgrading its major integrated complexes such as Antwerp and expanding its petrochemical production using advantaged feedstock. Other examples are the capital spending projects in the United States and South Korea

Bernard Pinatel
President Total Refining & Chemicals