March 14, 2012 / 4:57 PM / 6 years ago

Total cuts motor oil output at Gonfreville

PARIS, March 14 (Reuters) - French oil giant Total trimmed output of motor oil ingredients made from vacuum gasoil (VGO) at its Gonfreville refinery in Normandy due to poor margins, a spokesman for the company said on Wednesday.

“Output was partially and temporarily suspended on Saturday because the economic environment is difficult,” he said.

“Prices of VGO have risen so much that they now cost more than the finished product (motor oil bases) whose prices collapsed, which means the margins followed.”

The price of motor oil normally refers to lubricant.

Total will only restart full production “when conditions permit,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman declined to give production data or say how many people were employed at the unit but a union member at the refinery said 120 people were concerned.

The 350,000 barrels per day Gonfreville refinery is the biggest in France and employs more than 1,000 people. (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide and Valerie Parent; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)

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