KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – SK Energy Co. said its Yubase Plus API Group III base oils, from its joint-venture refinery in Dumai, Indonesia, are the first higher viscosity index Group IIIs to reach the merchant market.
C.W. Park, principal research scientist with Seoul, Koreas SK Energy, told the ICIS Asian Base Oils & Lubricants Conference here on June 19 that SKs Indonesian base oil refinery, a joint venture with Pertamina, began operations on May 1, two months ahead of schedule. Making higher viscosity Group III base oils from fuels hydrocracker residues, the new plant will produce about 350,000 metric tons per year of base oils, marketed under SKs Yubase Plus brand.
The 4 centiStoke product from the new refinery has a viscosity index of 134, said Park, compared to a VI of 122 for the 4 cSt Group III base oils SK produces in Korea. The new 6 cSt oils have a VI of 145, compared to a VI of 130 for the 6 cSt oils from Korea. Eighty percent of the new refinerys output will be 4 cSt Yubase 4-Plus; the remaining 20 percent will be 6 cSt Yubase 6-Plus.
The higher viscosity oils, contended Park, are beneficial in overall performance, including low temperature, low shear performance, solubility and seal compatibility, and fuel economy in multigrade engine oils. They even, he controversially claimed, are the same base stock slate as the lower viscosity SK Group III oils, for base oil read-across purposes. ACEA engine tests are [now being conducted] to demonstrate base oil read-across between existing Yubase and Yubase Plus, Park said.
Petronas, Malaysias national oil company, plans to begin production of higher viscosity Group III base oils in Melaka, Malaysia, at the end of this year.