The Vorsino blending unit, south of Moscow, was inaugurated on October 15. The investment accelerates the growth momentum of the lubricants business and further demonstrates Total’s involvement towards Russia, a strategically important country. Mathieu Soulas, Vice President, Lubricants at Total Marketing & Services, and Fabien Voisin, Managing Director of Total Vostok, unpack what’s at stake.
What does the plant produce?
Mathieu Soulas / As their name suggests, blending plants blend base oils and additives to manufacture lubricants. The Vorsino facility combines state-of-the-art technology and the Group’s best standards. We can produce the lubricants from our different ranges, meeting the toughest specifications. With an initial capacity of 40,000 tons per year, the plant can scale-up production to 75,000 tons to meet growing demand from the affiliate and reach our ambitions in the markets covered. Vorsino is located in an industrial park served by rail and has an integrated tank farm, allowing us to optimize supply of raw materials for our products.
Why did you decide to build the plant in Russia?
Fabien Voisin / That choice serves two purposes. The first, commercial in nature, is that it brings us closer to our customers. Russia, obviously, where 80% of the plant’s production will be sold, but also a huge regional market that extends across Central Asia. Vorsino also meets an economic requirement specific to our host country. Russia needs to localize industrial production to drive the economy: 40% of the base oils processed are sourced in Russia and all the packaging will be manufactured locally.
M. S. / The agreement was announced in Russia two years ago, during a session of country’s Foreign Investment Advisory Council (FIAC), the yearly forum for foreign companies and the Russian government to converse. The inauguration was held during this year’s session. It’s symbolic of Total’s involvement towards Russia, to investing in both its upstream and downstream for the long term, and to being an engine of the economy.
How will Vorsino help meet Total’s objectives for lubricants?
F. V. / We can lean on the reputation enjoyed by the TOTAL brand: choosing our lubricants means you are choosing products that inspire trust. That’s the challenge that we’re going to meet in Russia: produce premium “made in Russia” products at a competitive cost. We have doubled our market share in the country in five years. We want to pursue that growth.
M. S. / To achieve our targets, we need to be close to markets and supply the very best products. The Vorsino blending plant is an ideal example of how we are implementing that strategy.