Metalub Opens Costa Rica Rerefinery


A Costa Rican lubricant company this week opened what it claims to be the first waste lubricant refinery in Central America.

Officials with Metalub said the facility provides Costa Rica with a domestic source for base stocks as well as a means to recycle used oils.

The company, which is headquartered in the nation’s capital of San Jose, held a grand opening ceremony Tuesday for the facility, which is in the city of Orotina. The plant was built at a cost of U.S. $12 million and has capacity to process 5,400 metric tons of used oil per year and to produce 4,000 t/y of base oil.

“This is the most modern oil regeneration plant in all of Central America,” the company said in a June 12 post on Facebook. “This big step puts us at the forefront of sustainability and technology, committed to caring for our planet.”

Rerefineries have long been concentrated in a few developed areas such as the United States and Canada, the European Union, India and China, but in the past few years facilities have been opening in other countries – from Ecuador to Saudi Arabia to Russia and Japan, largely because of initiatives promoting more sustainable ways of recycling lubricants.

Metalub is touting the fact that making rerefined base oils generates significantly less carbon dioxide than production of virgin base oil, contending that the former offer motorists and businesses an opportunity to reduce their carbon footprints.

According to press reports this week, the company also said that Costa Rica imports approximately $100 million of finished lubricants annually and that local availability of base oil could allow a bite to be taken from that number.

Metalub began operating in 2015, initially as a lubricant marketer and waste lubricant collector. Until now, the company has transported the used oil that it collected to the United States to be rerefined. Now it can cut out the long-distance transportation.