OIL giant Total has said it will convert a giant refinery into a plant where it will produce fuel for aeroplanes from inputs such as animal fats and used cooking oil.

The move forms part of a plan to turn the Grandpuits Refinery 45 miles from Paris into a zero-crude platform for the production of biofuels and bioplastics. Total expects to invest more than €500 million (£460m) in the project.

The French major  also expects to produce biodegradable plastic from sugar at the re-purposed Grandpuits and to convert plastic waste into a feedstock that could be used in food packaging.

The company said the plan underlined its commitment to supporting the transition to a lower-carbon energy system and to achieving net zero in its European operations by 2050.

Total is a big player in the North Sea oil and gas industry.

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It said crude oil refining at the platform will be discontinued in the first quarter of 2021 and storage of petroleum products will end in late 2023.

Total made the decision after the refinery was required to shut down for more than five months last year following a leak on the 160-mile pipeline that carries crude oil to the facility from the Port of Le Havre.

The company said an audit found normal operations at the refinery could be restored only by replacing the pipeline, at a cost of nearly €600 million

The company said 250 of the 400 jobs at Grandpuits and an associated depot will be retained following the conversion. Fifteen jobs will be created in a new packaging unit.

It added: “Total will carry out this industrial redeployment with no layoffs, with early retirements and internal mobility within the Group’ sites, providing each employee with an appropriate solution.”

Total expects construction work to create up to 1,000 jobs over three years. Partner organisations are expected to employ around 200 people in the operations phase.

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