ATOFINA is the chemical branch of the TotalFinaElf group. It was formally established in April 2000 from the merged petrochemicals and chemicals activities developed by Total, Petrofina and Elf Aquitaine (Elf Atochem) before two consecutive mergers, in 1998 and in 1999, led to the creation of TotalFinaElf, the world's fourth largest oil company and fifth largest chemical company.
Petrochemicals and commodity polymers
The merger between TOTALFINA and Elf Aquitaine has allowed ATOFINA to become the leading petrochemicals producer in Europe. Thanks to integration of petrochemicals and refining sites, and the good industrial fit between the two partners' spread of activities and production platforms, the new combined ATOFINA is in a position to generate synergies in a number of areas, thus giving it additional growth potential.
The efficiency of ATOFINA turns on the use of 5 large, integrated platforms within Europe :
ー 4 in France : Gonfreville (Normandy), Carling (Moselle), Feyzin-Balan (Ain) and Lavera-La Mede (Bouches-du-Rhone)
ー 1 in Belgium : Antwerp.
The new actual capacity make it the leading manufacturer of propylene and the second-largest supplier of ethylene, benzene, and xylene in Europe. In the polymers segment, TotalFinaElf will rank fourth worldwide, with a portfolio of activities well balanced both internationally and business-wise. Buidling on the good geographical match between production in the United States and Europe, the Group will be the world's fourth-largest supplier of polystyrene.
ATOFINA operates one of the most powerful production facilities in Europe:
7 steamcrackers (ethylene, propylene):
・Carling, an industrial base supplying northern Europe,
・Anvers, jointly with Exxon,
・Feyzin, in association with Solvay,
・Gonfreville, on the English Channel,
・Lacq, in partnership with Elf Aquitaine Exploration-Production France,
・Lavera on the Mediterranean, in association with BP Chemicals,
・Umm Said (Qatar) in partnership with the State of Qatar and Enichem
2 refining propylene purification plants:
・Donges on the Atlantic, a joint venture with Elf Antar France,
・Feyzin, at the heart of the Rhone-Alpes region chemical centre.
Products：Polyethylene、Low content ethylene vinyl acetate copolymers、Polypropylene、
CVM, PVC AND CONVERTING
Products：VCM (vinyl chloride monomer)、General purpose PVC and special PVC、
With total production capacities of 740,000 tpa, ATOFINA is n° 1 producer in France and n° 1 in Europe for PVC.
In order to weather the current crisis in the general purpose PVC sector in Europe, the Company has secured the means to consolidate its competitiveness significantly, by combining 3 initiatives:
the consolidation of its downstream PVC activities, with the acquisition of Italy's 2nd largest compounder, IGS. ATOFINA's PVC benefits from a very sound integration, upstream in the chlorine/ethylene sector, and downstream with its pipes, profiles and compounds operations. The acquisition of IGS has strengthened the compounds activities
the reduction of transport logistics costs by using river-sea barges on the Rhone river from the Mediterranean to the Lyon area
the recentring of its PVC production on its Balan and Saint-Fons sites by the year 2000.
In addition, ATOFINA continues to play an active role in the progression and recovery of materials. The Company is currently studying the feasibility of recycling PVC waste from building sites, to replace the recycling of PVC mineral water bottles, which are now being phased out.
As part of the Autovinyle association created in January 1997, ATOFINA also takes part in the recycling of automotive PVC shredder lights as well as PVC parts from end-of-life vehicles.
Products ：Plasticised PVC compounds、Rigid PVC compounds、
Thermoplastic elastomers、Special vinyl compounds
As Europe's leading producer of vinyl compounds with production capacities exceeding 280,000 tonnes (including 230,000 tpa for NakanR thermoplastics), ATOFINA benefits from outstanding industrial coverage throughout Europe, operating in six countries and therefore in a position to meet its customers' requirements in terms of service.
Its comprehensive product range, in particular its speciality vinyl compounds, allows ATOFINA to stand out from its competitors in terms of offer.
PVC Pipes and Connections, PVC Profiles
STYRENE, POLYSTYRENE, ELASTOMERS
Products： Ethylbenzene、Styrene、Crystal and impact polystyrene and compounds
Nitrogen and Compound Fertilisers
ATOFINA combines the strengths of Elf Atochem and TOTALFINA's chemical activities.
At the beginning of the 80's, the French chemical industry was hard hit, both by the aftermath of the 1973 and 1978 oil crises and by recession in its own sector.
To get back on its feet in the increasingly competitive international market, restructuring was essential, and the decision was taken to re-group, with a major share of the industry going to Elf Aquitaine. The objective was clear: to construct a chemical industry which could withstand the ups and downs of the changing economy.
The result was the creation, in 1983, of the Atochem Company, a subsidiary of Elf Aquitaine, composed of Ato Chimie, Chloé Chimie and the greater part of PCUK (Produits Chimiques Ugine Kuhlmann). In 1989, Atochem was joined by the US. company Pennwalt. In 1990, a new stage in the restructuring of the French chemical industry was set in motion with the addition of the main chemical activities of Charbonnages de France (Orkem, Norsolor). In 1992 , Atochem became Elf Atochem.
This same year, Elf Atochem entered into a worldwide agreement with Rohm & Haas, which resulted in the setting up of a common affiliate, AtoHaas. In 1998, with the acquisition of Rohm & Haas' share in AtoHaas (renamed Atoglas), Elf Atochem became the worldwide leader in the polymethyl methacrylate market.
In 1992, Elf Atochem also purchased German corporation Schering's plating division, in order to group it with its M&T Harshaw affiliate within a new Atotech affiliate, now one of the world leaders in that industry.
At the end of 1994, Elf Atochem and Union Carbide set up Aspell Polymères, a joint venture in the polyethylene sector.
In 1996, with the purchase of Findley Adhesives, Inc., as well as of the adhesives and sealants activities of the British company Laporte LPC., Elf Atochem acquired a genuinely worldwide dimension in the adhesive industry.
In 1999, TOTAL and Petrofina were merged to form the group TOTALFINA.
25 February 1920, the Compagnie Financière Belge des Pétroles (Belgian Petroleum Finance Company), Petrofina, is founded by a group of investors from Antwerp.
The primary objective of the post-war period: industrial integration through control of the refining process. The Société Industrielle Belge des Pétroles - SIBP - (Belgian Industrial Petroleum Company) is founded in Antwerp in 1949 and begins production in 1951.
embarked on exploration and production, now makes major
discoveries such as the one in Mexico. Similar successes follow
in Canada, Angola and Egypt. The 1950s see the growth of the
In 1954, Petrofina takes its first steps in the field of chemistry. Indutrial integration proceeds at the dawn of the plastic age. Located near SIBP, the Petrochim factory augments the installations at Antwerp. The same year, the acquisition of Cosden Chemicals marks the entry of Petrofina into the petrochemicals sector in America.
In the 60's, Belgochim
is established at Feluy. This marks the beginning of activities
in Belgium's Centre region. Soon Labofina - the future Fina
Research - Montefina and Sigma are also established there.
Petrofina diversifies into paints, a successful venture. The Dutch nucleus of Sigma continues its expansion into Europe which it began in the 1960s.
In 1988, by buying back all shares in Société Industrielle Belge des Pétroles, Petrofina focuses on its refining activities. Fina Raffinaderij Antwerpen becomes the heart of an integrated petroleum and petrochemical network.
In the chemical industry, Petrofina backs three star products in Europe and the United States: PS, PP and HDPE.
Acquired by TOTAL in 1990, the Resins Division was regrouped in Europe under the banner Cray Valley, and rests in the United States on two companies: Sartomer Cook Composites & Polymers.
In the TOTAL group since 1991, the expansion of the Hutchinson group came true from its previous history by a combination of internal and external growth with an intensification of its positions on its basic activities, and by internationalization at first in Europe and then in America and in Asia.
Created in the end of XIXth century, the Bostik company is today one of the world leaders in the field of adhesives and sealants.
SigmaKalon is one of Europe's leading manufacturers of decorative paints.
ATOFINA increases its polypropylene capacities in Europe
The merger of TotalFina's activities with those of Elf Aquitaine and the investments launched within the new ATOFINA entity are positioning the latter in 3rd place among the world's polypropylene producers. With the debottlenecking of the Gonfreville L’Orcher plant (France) and the start-up at the beginning of 2002 of the new plant in Feluy (Belgium), ATOFINA will boast overall polypropylene production capacities of 2.1 million tpa.
The Feluy and Gonfreville L’Orcher capacity extensions are consolidating ATOFINA's presence in Europe, and will mean a virtually equal split of its world capacities between this region and the United States:
- 1.1 million tpa in Europe, including 800,000 tpa in Feluy, 200,000 tpa in Gonfreville L’Orcher, and 135,000 tpa in Lavera (France),
- 1 million tpa in the United States in La Porte, Texas.
The Gonfreville L’Orcher plant operates a gas phase technology developed by ATOFINA. The new 380,000 tpa Feluy plant uses the Spheripol® technology. Both technologies produce homopolymer and copolymer polypropylene, and will allow new grades to be developed, in particular high rigidity and high impact copolymers, which will afford further progress in thickness reduction for injected parts and thermoformed components.
Polypropylene has been recording the strongest growth among commodity polymers, with a European average of 5.2 % p.a. over the period 1997-2001 and a forecast close to 6 % over the next few years. This success can be explained by the versatility of polypropylene which can be injected, extruded, thermoformed, drawn or blow-moulded, thereby making it an ideal and straightforward substitute to traditional materials (wood, aluminium, glass, etc.) as well as to other plastics.
The characteristics of the new polypropylene generations bring new opportunities with applications hitherto the domain of other materials. Polypropylene grades produced with metallocene catalysts, for example, lead to very fine, flexible and soft fibres, comparable to nylon, polyester or cotton fibres, and hence new outlets in hygiene applications (babies' diapers, female hygiene products, etc.) and clothing manufacture. Similarly, the latest developments in extrusion blow moulding are producing highly transparent packaging particularly sought after by the cosmetics and pharmaceuticals industries.
Atofina inaugurates new PP Belgium unit
Atofina, TotalFinaElf's chemicals arm, last Friday inaugurated its new polypropylene production unit at Feluy, Belgium.
The unit had been commissioned in March 2002 and was designed to deploy the metallocene catalyst technology developed by the Atofina Research laboratories near the plant, said a statement accompanying Wednesday's inauguration announcement.
The new 380,000 mt/yr unit is the world's largest and takes total PP production capacity to at the site to 800,000 mt/yr. The expansion is in line with TotalFinaElf's petrochemical strategy to concentrate growth at large facilities to improve competitiveness. The Feluy unit also produces polyethylene and polystyrene, with a total capacity of 1.1-mil mt/yr.
April 3, 2003 ATOFINA
ATOFINA increases capacity at its Antwerp polyethylene plant in Belgium
ATOFINA inaugurated on 3rd April 2003, new industrial facilities for increased Polyethylene (HDPE) production at its Antwerp plant in Belgium. The 160,000 tpa increase brings the site's overall capacity up to 510,000 tpa, and consolidates ATOFINA's position as a producer of specialized Polyethylene grades.
Developed from the Company's own innovative state of the art production technologies, this investment allows the Antwerp plant to produce new bimodal grades for various applications, resins from metallocene catalysts, and a wide range of coloured resins for pipe, in addition to conventional Polyethylene grades. This project will also enable ATOFINA to improve and expand its logistics operations. These are handled jointly with Katoennatie, which has set up its largest logistics platform adjacent to the Polyethylene plant to provide worldwide customer service.
The Antwerp Polyethylene plant accounts for 10% of Polyethylene (HDPE) consumption in Western Europe (13% when taking into account the Feluy plant, also in Belgium), and is the largest single production site for coloured HDPE resins.
Atofina announces plans to expand styrene monomer facility in Carville (USA)
Atofina announced plans to modernize and expand its joint venture Cos-Mar Styrene Monomer facility located near Carville, Louisiana. This project will increase styrene capacity from 900,000 tons per year to 1,150,000 tons per year. Completion is planned for third quarter 2004.
Cos-Mar is a 50/50 joint venture between Atofina Petrochemicals, Inc. and General Electric Petrochemicals, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Electric, and a division of its GE Plastics business. Atofina operates the Cos-Mar facility, which is one of the largest styrene monomer plants in the world.
The project includes upgrading the ethylbenzene and styrene production technologies, allowing reductions in energy and feedstock consumption and in plant air emissions.
This expansion enhances the world-class position and the competitiveness of the Cos-Mar facility in the global styrene market. Atofina's wholly owned Polystyrene Plant located adjacent to the Cos-Mar facility will consume their share of the new capacity.
Atofina is the World's 3rd largest Polystyrene producer with a total capacity of 1.5 million tons per year, and the 4th largest styrene producer with a total capacity of 1.2 million tons per year.
ATOFINA builds new polystyrene compounding plant in Thailand for the teletronics market
ATOFINA is investing in a new 12,000 tpa polystyrene compounding plant near Bangkok in Thailand, at a cost amounting to Euro 4 M.
The new plant is operational and primarily supplies flame-retardant compounds for the Asian teletronics market (audio-video and office equipment), in which Thailand is the main producer among the countries of South-East Asia.
This buoyant market is regulated by increasingly stringent fireproofing regulations in Asia requiring virgin resins to be replaced by resins containing fire-retardant additives.
The new plant allows ATOFINA to consolidate the existing 13,000 tpa polystyrene compounding capacity of its Singapore site in line with its customers' development.
ATOFINA, the world's 4th largest polystyrene producer with plants in France (Gonfreville and Carling), Spain (Prat de Llobregat), the United Kingdom (Stalybridge), the United States (Carville) and in Asia (Singapore) thereby confirms its standing among the world's polystyrene leaders.
France's Atofina defers China, Singapore PS expansions to 2006
France's Atofina plans to defer its polystyrene expansions in China and Singapore by two years to 2006 due to concerns about over-supply in the region and poor profit margins, an industry source said Wednesday.
February 19, 2004 Atofina
Proposed reorgainization of Total's chemicals branch
Proposed creation of a new Chlorochemicals, Intermediates and Performance Products Organization
Like Europe's other chemical actors, Total's Chemicals branch is facing a difficult environment. It has to contend with acute competition in a climate of weak demand, high energy and raw materials costs, and a major depreciation of the dollar relative to the euro.
In the light of this situation, the Group is studying a reorganization of its Chemicals Branch which would entail lighter functional organizations as well as the creation, alongside Petrochemicals and Specialties, of a decentralised organization consolidating the Chlorochemicals, Intermediates and Performance Products assets.
This new organization will be in a position to adapt to market trends with more flexibility through a structure which is closer to its customers and more reactive in its decision-making processes, and which relies on coherent industrial activities. It will be run by Thierry Le Henaff (*), and will enjoy significant operational autonomy.
The performance of these businesses is affected by the current economic climate in Europe, and, accordingly, the new company's priority will be to improve results. On the strength of these improvements, it will pursue its development, in particular in Asia.
The new company will aim to become a competitive and independent actor. With a sound financial structure, it will have the opportunity to play an active role in the consolidation of the chemical industry.
Petrochemicals continue to implement synergies with Refining, and should speed up their expansion in Asia.
Specialties demonstrate their ability to maintain a satisfactory performance, despite an increasingly harsh environment.
With sales of some Eruo 5 billion in 2003, the Chlorochemicals, Intermediates and Performance Products business includes thirteen activities in which Atofina holds leading positions in Europe and, in some cases, in the World. This is the case of Thiochemicals (World leader), Fluorochemicals and Oxygenated Products (N°2 and 3 respectively in the World), Acrylics and PMMA (N°3 in the World), and Engineering Polymers (N°3 in the World).
(*) 40 year old Thierry Le Henaff is a graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique and of Ponts et Chaussees; he also holds an MBA from Stanford University (USA). After beginning his career with Peat Marwick Consultants, he joined Total's Adhesives Division in 1992 where he held a number of management positions throughout the world. In July 2001, he became Chairman and Managing Director of Bostik Findley, the new group created from the merged Adhesives businesses of Total and Elf Atochem.
On January 1, 2003, he became a member of the Executive Committee of Atofina (the Chemicals Branch of the Total Group), in charge of three Divisions: Agrochemicals, Fertilisers and Thiochemicals. He also oversees International Affairs, Purchasing and Research.
The proposal has been presented to employee representatives.
Dow Jones April 8, 2004
Total Sees Third Of Chem Business As Stand-Alone By Oct 1
Atofina, the chemicals division of French oil major Total S.A. (TOT), Wednesday said it plans to have a third of its business legally set up as a stand-alone company by Oct. 1.
Bernard Boyer, who is in charge of Atofina's strategy, acquisitions and divestitures, also said Total targets a spin off the company - comprising the chlorochemicals, intermediates and performance products units - in two or three years.
"When the company has been able to produce a true return to profitability...then (it) will leave Total, most probably through a spin-off," Boyer told reporters at a presentation in London.
Boyer said Total might pursue a public offering of the company, but this wasn't the first choice. The stand-alone company has yet to be named, but is being referred to in the meantime as CIP.
Total announced in February that it would revamp its chemicals division to reduce its exposure to a highly cyclical industry in which profit margins are often squeezed between high raw material costs and low sale prices.
In particular, sustained high oil prices - which have benefitted parent company Total - and the weakening dollar over the past year have hit the chemicals business, Boyer said.
The company's petrochemicals, fertilizer and specialty chemicals business will remain under Total's aegis.
The chemicals divisions of all major oil companies have been feeling the pinch, but Boyer said market conditions have hit Total especially owing to the relatively large size its chemicals unit, cobbled together from the acquisitions of Elf and Fina in the late 1990s.
"We have a part (chemicals unit) that is still a bit too integrated for an oil company," Boyer said.
He added that it is proving "a bit challenging" for the chemicals division to reach a return on capital employed target of 12% with continued weakness in the dollar.
UOP LLC and Total Petrochemicals to Integrate Methanol-to-Olefins and Olefin Cracking Processes
Demonstration plant in Belgium to come on stream in 2007
UOP LLC, a subsidiary of
Honeywell, and Total Petrochemicals announced today they have
signed agreements for a joint development program to integrate
technology aimed at increasing the production of light olefins,
the basic chemical building blocks for many commonly used plastic
Under the agreements, Total Petrochemicals will construct a demonstration plant at its petrochemicals complex in Feluy, Belgium. The demonstration plant will consist of a UOP/HYDRO methanol-to-olefin (MTO) process unit and a Total Petrochemicals/UOP Olefin Cracking process unit. The integrated plant will feed an existing, large-scale polymerization pilot plant. The basic engineering for the demonstration plant is complete and detailed engineering, procurement and construction activities are scheduled for kick off prior to the end of this year. The demonstration plant is expected to come on stream in 2007. The program is anticipated to allow further optimization of the combined processes that Total Petrochemicals intends to apply to a commercial plant.
“This is a significant milestone in demonstrating a lower cost alternative to crude oil-based production of light olefins,” said Carlos Cabrera, UOP president and CEO. “We value our relationship with Total Petrochemicals as both a joint development partner and a leading producer of light olefins.”
The UOP/HYDRO MTO process converts methanol to ethylene and propylene along with some heavier olefins. The Total Petrochemicals/UOP Olefin Cracking process converts these heavier olefins predominantly to propylene with some associated ethylene.
By integrating the two processes, Total Petrochemicals and UOP will demonstrate a very significant increase in the production of light olefins, particularly propylene.
“We believe that gas-to-olefins will play an important role in the future production of petrochemicals in a high-price oil world,” said Jean-Bernard Lartigue, President of Total Petrochemicals. “The integration of the Total Petrochemicals/UOP Olefin Cracking Process with the UOP/HYDRO MTO Process provides a truly economical route for production of light olefins from methanol.”
UOP also remains active in MTO joint development with Hydro of Norway. Hydro has successfully operated an MTO demonstration unit in Norway since 1995.
UOP LLC, headquartered in Des Plaines, Illinois, USA, is a leading international supplier and licensor of process technology, catalysts, adsorbents, process plants, and technical services to the petroleum refining, petrochemical, and gas processing industries. UOP is a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell Specialty Materials, a strategic business group of Honeywell. Find out more at www.uop.com.
Total Petrochemicals, the chemical branch of the oil group Total, is one of the major producers of base chemicals and petrochemicals in the world. Total Petrochemicals' activities are structured into four core businesses: Base Petrochemicals, Polyethylene, Polypropylene, and Styrenics. Find out more at www.totalpetrochemicals.com.