Oleon Acquires Blending Plant in Texas

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Oleon Acquires Blending Plant in Texas
An aerial view of the Conroe, Texas blending plant that was acquired by oleochemical producer Oleon. Photo courtesy of Oleon

Oleochemical producer Oleon acquired a blending plant in Conroe, Texas, the company announced this week. Oleon’s esters are used in lubricants, including environmentally acceptable lubricants.

The Belgium-based company bought the site for more than $50 million. The plant will start up in the first half of 2023, offering warehouse and blending services for a handful of markets, including lubricants.

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A spokesperson told Lubes’n’Greases the total capacity of the plant is 30,000 metric tons per year, 75% of which will be geared toward the lubricants market. Oleon also said it will build a reactor to produce esters locally, half of which will also go into the lubricants market.

The company will provide blending services to its biggest customers. The blends will always contain Oleon products and won’t use hazardous materials.

“With a historical industrial base in Europe and a strong base in Asia, our global footprint was lacking production capabilities in the important North American region,” Oleon CEO Moussa Naciri said in a press release. “With over 95% of our raw materials being of natural origin, Oleon’s oleochemical specialties combine high performance and low environmental impact. Consumers worldwide are increasingly turning to such sustainable solutions and Oleon is there to serve them globally.”

Oleon touts the Houston area as a “leading global hub” for the chemicals industry in regards to its inbound and outbound logistics. In May it announced it started construction of a new esters plant in Baytown, Texas, another $50 million investment for the company.

“We strongly believe in the development of the North American market, not only due to its size, but also due to availability of important raw materials. The global supply chain crisis of the last two years has also reiterated the importance of producing close to the customer,” Oleon Managing Director Jeroen Dirckx said.

“Oleon clearly wants to grow over the coming years on a global scale. This growth will continue in part organically through [capital expenditure] investments in different regions, but strategic acquisitions are a possibility,” said the spokesperson. “We mainly look for businesses that can offer a unique extension to our current product range, offer technical or innovative benefits or that can make us stronger in a specific region.”

The company’s base oleochemicals division splits animal fats and vegetable oils into fatty acids and glycerins. Its derivatives business unit then takes the core components and combines them with alcohols, before converting them into natural esters.

Headquartered in Ertvelde, Belgium, Oleon has six production sites, including in Belgium, Germany, France, the United States and Malaysia. The company is part of the Avril Group.