Saudi Arabia's Luberef to double Yanbu refinery capacity by Q3 '15

09 October 2012 11:58  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Saudi Aramco Lubricating Oil Refining Company (Luberef) is planning to expand its refinery in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, that will include starting production of Group II base oils to meet growing demand for the product globally, a company official said on Tuesday.

The company will double the production capacity of its Luberef-II refinery to 1.2m tonnes/year by the end of the third quarter of 2015 from around 600,000 tonnes/year currently, said Luberef vice president for manufacturing Ibrahim Al-Faqeeh in a presentation at the ICIS Middle Eastern Base Oils and Lubricants conference in Dubai.

“Group I is expected to remain the dominant base oil for lubricant blending until at least 2020,” according to Al-Faqeeh.

“In addition, the increase in demand for Group II and III [base oils] will be driven primarily by engine performance and fuel economy requirements,” Al-Faqeeh said.

Group II demand is forecast to account for 25% of total global demand for base oils by 2020, with the share expected to exceed 30% by 2030, he said.

“In order to meet customer demand, Luberef has therefore decided to produce higher quality base oils of Group II, which will be achieved through an expansion at our refinery,” Al-Faqeeh said.

The expansion plans will include revamps of the refinery’s propene deasphalt unit, which will be improved to double the feed to 12,500 bbl/day, and an increase of the feed for its vacuum distillation unit to 39,000 bbl/day from 26,000 bbl/day.

Expansion at the propane deasphalt unit will be completed by December 2014, while the vacuum distillation unit will be ready by June 2014.

Luberef will also add a hydrocracking unit, an iso-dewaxing unit, a hydrogen and hydrogen recovery unit, a sulphur recovery unit, as well as a gas treatment unit to enable the production of Group II base oils at the refinery, Al-Faqeeh said.

“The expanded Luberef-II site will have added production capacity of 708,000 tonnes for Group II base oils and an additional 90,000 tonnes of brightstock. In addition, Luberef-II will produce drilling fluids as a specialty project,” Al-Faqeeh added.


By: Andrea Heng
+65 6780 4359

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