Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

PennEnergy: Esso SAF plans €100 million/year in refineries

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, Apr. 7 — Esso SAF says it intends to continue investments at its two refineries and service station network in France at the rate of €100 million/year, which it has kept up since its 2003-04 peaks of €270 million. Last year, there was an extra investment of €31 million as it carried out a major turnover of its Port-Jerome-Gravenchon refinery and petrochemicals site within a 5-year cycle.

Apart from Total SA, which is on its home ground, Esso SAF is the only oil major now operating refineries in France, following the withdrawal of BP and Shell. And it intends to remain “a major player in the sector,” said Chairman and CEO Francis Duseux at a press conference Apr. 3 dedicated to reporting the company’s 2007 results.

Dusieux said its Fos-sur-Mer refinery on the French Riviera is one of ExxonMobil’s best refineries in Europe. Esso SAF just celebrated 17 years without an accident for the Esso workforce as well as a 90% utilization rate for the second year running.

A €25 million vacuum distillation unit has been built, and in May a new reactor, tower, and exchanger are due on stream to bring the sulfur content of diesel oil down to 10 ppm. At the Normandy refinery also, 10 ppm sulfur content diesel oil will be produced this year.

At Fos a pilot project intended for the whole ExxonMobil group will be developed to produce very pure hydrogen for product desulfurization.

Last year, Esso exported 1.3 million tonnes of gasoline to the US, which is 48% of the group’s gasoline production. Dusieux sees these exports continuing over the next years.

The company has spent €200 million over the last 5 years to reduce CO2 emissions at its refineries, €55 million in 2007 alone, bringing emissions down by 9% from 2006 levels.

At €31/tonne, refinery margins were on average €5/tonne higher than in 2006, and Esso SAF’s net profits amounted to a positive €399 million, up from € 232 million in 2006. This includes the operational results of its 700 service station network, where investments are being carried out to develop biofuels and adapt them to incorporate new products.

The collapse of lube oil margins, which at times became negative, was the only bad news in 2007, said Dusieux, who pointed to the strong competition growing in the market, especially from Total and small producers.

Accordingly, Esso SAF henceforth will focus its lube oils on the high level range and synthetic products, he said.

Last year, Esso SAF sold its headquarters in the western suburbs of Paris. They had become too large following restructuring after the ExxonMobil merger, with the workforce falling from 1,100 to 420. During the Easter weekend, personnel moved back to the Paris business sector of La Defense. and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

0 Comments on “PennEnergy: Esso SAF plans €100 million/year in refineries”

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: