Fundamentals of the Base Oil Business

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Have you ever wondered why Bright Stock is called “Bright Stock”? Or pondered the rationale for the base oil names “Group I”, “Group II” etc? Have you considered why there seem to be Group II and Group III plants in Asia and the US, but not in Europe or the Middle East?

Historically, the base oil business was straightforward and easy to understand. Most regions had only one type of base oil manufacturing, and producers offered similar products. Over the last decade, the rise of different base oil manufacturing processes, led to multiple – and very different – base oil products from each process. This has created a difficult maze for refiners, marketers, supply managers, the shipping industry, and end-use customers – especially those new to lubes.

Join ICIS for a day of introductory base oil training, which will help you navigate the maze and understand the basics of base oil terminology, solvent processing and hydroprocessing manufacturing technology, product quality fundamentals, and key applications.

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09.00 Welcome, safety and housekeeping

09.05 I. Global Base Oil Refining Overview

  • Global crude refiners: who makes base oils?
  • Crude types and terminology
  • Crude for base oils vs. fuels refining

10.00 II. Base oil manufacturing: solvent processing

  • Base oil overview – definitions and terminology
  • Historical manufacturing: solvent processing
  • Example: Arab Light 95 VI via solvent processing


11.15 III. Base oil manufacturing: hydroprocessing

  • Hydroprocessing terms and general overview
  • Lube hydroprocessing: the newer technology
  • Example: Arab Light 95 VI via hydroprocessing

12.15 IV. Self-quiz and group review

12.30 LUNCH

13.30 V. Base oil product quality fundamentals

  • The API base oil groups: I, II, III, IV and V
  • Comparison of solvent and hydroprocessing qualities
  • Discussion – are API groups still relevant today?

14.15 VI. Base Oil Demand (Finished Lubricants 101)

  • Correlating base oils to finished lubricants
  • Transportation, industrial and process oil segments
  • Base oil quality trends within each sector

15.30 VII. Lubricant additives & lubricant supply chain

  • Additive introduction and overview
  • Finished lubricant supply chain

16.00 VII. The future of base oil – trends to watch

  • Manufacturing: shared fuels-lubes hydrocracking
  • Game changers? Gas-to-liquids (GTL) base oils
  • What about re-refining and bio-lubricants?

16.45 Feedback forms – class survey
17.00 Closing remarks and end of seminar

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Amy Claxton, P.E. is a registered professional Chemical Engineer and owns a consulting company called My Energy, specializing in consulting and training for the Base Oils, Waxes, and GTL industries. Her clients include publicly traded and privately held oil, gas, lube and wax companies, as well as law firms, venture capital firms, and other energy consulting companies. With over thirty years of experience in the refining industry, her expertise includes raw materials selection; manufacturing processes and economics; global supply and demand; and intellectual property analysis and support.

Prior to starting her own company in 2001, Ms. Claxton worked for Dow Chemical, Exxon, and ExxonMobil. Her assignments included plant engineering and managerial positions in chemical plants and refinery fuels, lube base oil, and wax units. She managed technical services for Exxon’s 500,000 barrel per day refinery in Baytown, Texas, with departmental oversight of 100 employees including chemical, mechanical, civil and environmental engineers.

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Why attend the course?

  • Understand the lubricant base oil market and its fundamental drivers
  • Grasp the key base oil manufacturing and product quality concepts
  • Learn about the similarities and differences among the different types of base oils
  • Get a glimpse into future perspectives on the base oil industry

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Course Fees

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In-House Training

ICIS works alongside our clients to create bespoke training courses that mould our expertise and your specific needs. We will pinpoint the current expertise of your employees, areas for improvement, and your business goals, and develop a training course that will bring tangible benefits to your business.

Our custom training courses are delivered as interactive workshops, focusing on the products, concepts and issues that are most relevant and beneficial to you.

  • Save money on transportation and accommodation, with training at a convenient location
  • Flexibility – you determine the length and duration of the sessions
  • Interactive workshops with hands-on exercises, to reinforce key skills, techniques and concepts
  • Take away the course materials, presentations and background information for future reference

To enquire about in-house training for this course, please click here and a member of our team will get back to you.

Schedule of upcoming courses

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