CNOOC-Shell Select Technology for LAO Project


Shell and China National Offshore Oil Co. are moving forward with plans to begin producing linear alpha olefins at their joint venture chemical refinery in Huizhou, China, at least some of which would apparently be used to make polyalphaolefins.

Shell Catalysts and Technologies, an affiliate of British energy giant Shell, announced Feb. 27 that several of its technologies will be used for a Phase III expansion of the complex – a project that will add capacity to make LAOs as well as ethylene oxide and ethylene glycols.

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The news release did not specify the capacity of LAOs. Shell Catalyst & Technologies referred questions to Shell, which did not respond by deadline.

The complex currently has capacity to make 2.2 million metric tons per year of ethylene and more than 6 million t/y of all chemicals.

Neste said in October that it was supplying technology for the Huizhou refinery to produce PAOs. Neither Neste nor Shell has disclosed the capacity of that facility.

LAOs are linear chains of hydrocarbons used to manufacture a variety of materials, including polyethylene, surfactants, and lubricant additives. PAOs are made mostly using decene and dodecane – chains containing 10 and 12 hydrocarbons, respectively.

PAOs are used as high-performance base stocks in lubricants. The world’s supply comes mostly from the United States and Europe, but several small plants have opened in China the past few years or are now being developed.

Shell is one of the world’s largest producers of LAOs but currently does not own or co-own a PAO production facility.