Puraglobe Moves Forward on U.S. Rerefinery

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Puraglobe Moves Forward on U.S. Rerefinery
Aerial view of Puraglobe's Tampa, Florida site where it plans to build an API Group III and Group III+ rerefinery that is expected to start production by 2024's fourth quarter. Photo courtesy of Puraglobe

Puraglobe completed engineering plans and is building a rerefinery in Tampa, Florida, that will produce API Group III base oils and that is scheduled to commission by the fourth quarter of 2024, the company announced.

Plans for the project date back 10 years, initially formed under prior site owner NexLube Tampa, which is no longer involved with the rerefinery.

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In 2016, Puraglobe agreed to partner with NexLube to complete the project after construction was suspended since late 2013 because of sharp escalation in costs. After that, officials said this week, the plans evolved further.

“This refinery is based on a 100% investment done by Puraglobe,” Puraglobe President and CEO Andreas Schueppel told Lube Report today. “With this investment, Puraglobe will serve the current market trends and market dynamics going on.”

The company declined to disclose the amount of its investment. Puraglobe said the plant will have capacity to process 75,000 metric tons per year of used motor oil. It will be capable of making Group III and Group III+ base stocks, as well as other products such as solvents, officials said, adding that yields will range from 60%-75% of throughput, depending on the product slate.

In a news release, the company said it has already signed agreements to offtake all of the production for the first few years of operation, although it did not specify what products are covered by those contracts.

Puraglobe already operates a lubricant blending factory on the site.

The announcement follows the company’s late October announcement that it will construct its third rerefinery in Germany, raising base oil capacity at that site to 240,000 t/y. That project is under construction and is expected to be commissioned in October 2023.

The investments in Germany and the United States are “part of the company’s strategic plans for global growth and increasing sustainability in the oil industry and beyond,” Schueppel said in a press release.

The Tampa rerefinery site has a long history that dates back more than 10 years. In June 2012, Port Tampa Bay entered into a 20-year lease agreement with NexLube Tampa LLC, with two five-year lease extension options, to construct a used oil reprocessing and blending plant on 12 acres. At that time, company officials expected to complete the rerefinery and commission it in 2013’s fourth quarter, but that never happened.

According to a 2016 Port Tampa Bay meeting document, when the project was suspended in November 2013, NexLube had invested more than $100 million in the facility. Work included substantial completion of construction of a 56,000-square-foot blending and storage building, a 20,000 square office building, about 30 above-ground storage tanks ranging in size from 10,000 to 900,000 gallons, piping and foundations for the processing unit. At that time, the port authority document indicated, NexLube stated the project was still viable and needed time to evaluate its options due to a major increase in projected costs. Since suspension of construction in 2013, NexLube had sought a partner to help it complete the project.

In March 2016, Puraglobe – then named Puralube – unveiled plans to partner with NexLube Tampa to complete the latter’s Florida rerefinery and enable it to produce Group III base oil by 2018. That was outlined in documents for a meeting of the governing board of Port Tampa Bay.

At the time, Port Tampa Bay’s board approved transfer of a lease agreement from NexLube Tampa LLC to Puraglobe Florida LLC, contingent upon completion of a joint venture between NexLube and Puralube. Since then, plans changed, and the Tampa rerefinery is now 100% a Puraglobe investment.

Global parent company Puraglobe Inc. is based in Wayne, Pennsylvania.