OREANDA-NEWS. The French government, authorities for the Pays de la Loire region, the Loire-Atlantique department and the Municipality of Saint Nazaire, railway system operator SNCF R?seau and Total today signed a memorandum of intent to build a rail line to bypass the Donges refinery in western France.

Total is very pleased by the strong support shown by the national and local authorities for this bypass project, needed to allow us to upgrade our Donges site,” commented Philippe Sauquet, President of Total Refining & Chemicals. “With the agreement, we confirm our plan to invest €400 million in the upgrade and expand the facility’s gasoline production capacity for the European market. This capital outlay will secure the refinery’s future.

A critical step in moving forward with the planned work at the Donges refinery, the memorandum of intent:

  • Recognizes that building the bypass is crucial to developing the economy of the Loire estuary, securing the future of the Donges site and ensuring the safety of rail passengers.
  • Confirms the principle of shared financing, with each party — the French government, local authorities and Total — paying one-third of the full cost of the bypass project, estimated at €150 million in all.
  • Establishes a schedule for implementing the bypass project. It is expected to be confirmed as being in the public interest in 2017, with the rail line completed and carrying traffic in 2021.