FocusBase oil IDW tech allows wider crude oil choices: Chevron

11 November 2013 21:00  [Source: ICIS news]

Base oil IDW tech allows wider crude oil choices: ChevronBy Judith Taylor

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The iso de-waxing (IDW) processing technology for base oils allows a wider variety of crude oil choices to utilise the production of the base stocks, Chevron sources clarified at a recent media event held ahead of the Q4 2013 mechanical start-up of its Group II Pascagoula Base Oil Plant (PBOP).

“Lube oil plants are probably the most complex of any in a refinery,” one Chevron expert commented while discussing the IDW process. 

Chevron technical experts explained that by using an all-hydroprocessing route, which signifies utilising the IDW, superior base oil purity can be achieved along with improved stability and customising properties.

With a caged catalyst sieve system that reforms the long-chain hydrocarbon feedstock molecules and prohibits re-entry to the system, Chevron’s IDW technology can allow crude oil grades that would likely be problematic or unusable for a number of other base oil processing technologies, Chevron sources said.

“Yields in the final steps are at about 90% compared with approximately 50% yields in older technologies,” one Chevron chemist commented.

Premium base oil grades such as Group II require a different additive set than other base stocks, but use less of the additive because of the nature of the base oil produced with the newer processes, so money is saved, another source said.

“IDW has about a 25% lower capex [capital expenditure] and about 30% lower operating costs, along with allowing wider crude oil flexibility,” a Chevron chemist said.

IDW technology also yields a base stock with zero aromatics, the source added.

Aromatic molecules such as benzenes and xylenes are increasingly unfavourable in motor oil blends as evolving stipulations from US regulatory groups such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seek to minimise and eliminate these materials – deemed hazardous – from vehicle emissions.

Chevron pioneered in the IDW technology and holds a significant share of the global licensing of this base oil processing method.

PBOP is a Group II base oil unit with 25,000 bbl/day of Group II base oil production capacity, slated for continuous through-put operation at Chevron’s 330,000 bbl refinery at the Mississippi Gulf coast location.

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By: Judith Taylor
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