03 March 2011 06:57 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Saudi Aramco Lubricating Oil Refining (Luberef) is targeting to complete the expansion of its 280,000 tonne/year Group I base oils refinery in Yanbu in the first quarter of 2015, the company’s spokesman said on Thursday.
The expanded refinery will be able to produce 730,000 tonnes/year of Group II base oils by upgrading the current Group I light and heavy neutrals production to Group II and adding new Group II capacity, said the company’s marketing director Hassan Azzouz.
The facility will also have the flexibility to make Group III base oils, he added.
But the production of brightstock from the existing Group I base oils slate will be retained and doubled to around 170,000 tonnes/year, Azzouz said.
Brightstock faces the prospect of increased global shortages due to a shift in global demand and production away from Group I base oils.
Azzouz identified the Middle East, southeast Asia and Europe as potential markets for its Group II base oils.
“We may also explore the feasibility of exporting to northeast Asia,” he said.
Luberef will initially focus on Group II production, he said, adding that the new refinery will be ready to produce Group III base oils “whenever needed, most probably after 2020”.
The expanded facility is expected to produce different viscosity grades of Group II base oils of 100N, 150N, 250N and 500N. Its output will also include 50-80N and drilling fluids.
Luberef also operates another 270,000 tonne/year Group I facility in Jeddah.
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