InterviewNew US Chevron Group II plant to meet premium-lube demand

31 January 2011 20:02  [Source: ICIS news]

Chevron Pascagoula refineryBy Al Greenwood

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US-based oil producer Chevron is building a new Group II base oils plant to meet growing demand for premium lubricants, a Chevron general manager said on Monday.

Over the years, countries around the world have adopted stricter emissions standards for automobiles. At the same time, new engines are requiring better performance from motor oils.

Meanwhile, sulphur specifications have continued to drop.

As a result, demand is growing for Group II and Group III base oils, said Patti Leigh, general manager of the base oil group Chevron Lubricants.

"We've been studying for a few years the shift in the global market," she said. "We hear from our customers that this is something that is needed and wanted from the industry."

The plant will cost $1.4bn (€1.0bn) and will have a capacity of 25,000 bbl/day, the company said. Chevron should complete construction by the end of 2013.

Chevron chose the site in Pascagoula, Mississippi, because of the region's business climate and logistics, Leigh said.

When completed, the plant will make the same grades as the company's plant in Richmond, California - 100, 220 and 600, Leigh said.

In addition, the Pascagoula plant will make a grade not produced in Richmond - 60 Neutral, Leigh said.

This grade is used to make transformer oil and spray oils for crops, Leigh said. It is also used in rubber manufacturing.

Chevron is still studying which 60-Netural end markets it will pursue, Leigh said.

The Pascagoula plant will serve customers in North America, Europe and Latin America, she said. It will complement the Richmond plant, which serves Asia, Latin America and Europe.

"This is a great growth project for Chevron," she said.

($1 = €0.74)

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By: Al Greenwood
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