AFPM '13: Stricter lube standards raise polyalphaolefins demand

25 March 2013 17:25  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--Stricter standards for lubricants will likely increase demand for polyalphaolefins (PAOs), a raw material for producing synthetic oils, an executive with US-based Chevron Phillips Chemical said on Monday.

Synthetic oils, in fact, are one of the segments that Chevron Phillips Chemical plans to serve with its expanded normal alpha olefins plant at its Cedar Bayou complex in Baytown, Texas, said Mitchell Eichelberger, general manager of normal alpha olefins and polyalphaolefins for Chevron Phillips Chemical.

Eichelberger made his comments at the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC), held by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM).

Chevron Phillips Chemical plans to expand normal alpha olefins capacity by at least 20% at its Cedar Bayou complex in Baytown, Texas.

The project should be completed by 2015, and it should increase capacity for a range of normal alpha olefins, from butene up to much larger molecules such as polyalphaolefins (PAOs), Eichelberger said.

Polyalphaolefins are used to make synthetic lubricants, which are being put under increasingly rigorous conditions in engines.

Increasingly, automobile producers are reducing the size of engines without reducing performance. Such engines require better performing lubricants.

In addition, new lubricant standards are expected to take effect in 2016. Lubricant formulators will start preparing for those new standards well in advance of the date, however.

"PAOs can be part of the solution," Eichelberger said.

In fact, a subsidiary of Chevron Phillips Chemical acquired a PAO plant in Belgium to help the company meet growing demand for the material. That deal closed in 2011.

Similar trends are also increasing demand for highly reactive polyisobutylene (HR PIB).

TPC Group has started engineering to expand production of PIB.

The AFPM conference ends on Tuesday.

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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