India’s Base Oil Supply Base Set to Jump


India’s Base Oil Supply Base Set to Jump
© Dinodia Photos RM

MUMBAI – India’s total base oil production capacity is set to jump in the next few years due to expansions by state-owned oil companies, a Hindustan Petroleum official said at an industry event held here last month.

Total base oil capacity of the state-run oil companies – Hindustan Petroleum Corp.  Ltd., Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. and Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. – is currently at 1.4 million metric tons per year, HPCL Chief General Manager of Research and Development Ramachandra Rao said at the Rosefield Conference for Lubricants and Fuels on Dec. 14.

HPCL and IOCL have the capacity to make 500,000 t/y and 480,000 t/y of base oils, respectively, consisting of API Group I and II oils, Rao said in his presentation, without providing the breakdown. According to Lubes’n’Greases research, IOCL has 225,000 t/y of Group II production capacity at its Haldia plant as of last year. The presentation appears to include a 255,000 t/y mostly Group III expansion that IOCL has said was due to be commissioned in December 2023.

BPCL’s current capacity stands at 450,000 t/y of base oils, consisting of Group II and III oils, he added.

Within the next three years, Rao said, HPCL and IOCL will complete expansions that will bring their total capacities to 840,000 t/y for HPCL and 1.8 million t/y for IOCL.

The capacity boost in India — one of the globe’s biggest base oil importers – will reduce the country’s need for outside supply, industry officials said.

“With more capacity additions in base oils, our dependence on imports is likely to come down,” said Shailendra Gokhale, director of Rosefield Energy Tech.

Talking about the global base oil market, Rao said current capacity is around 50 million metric tons, compared with requirements of about 40 million tons.

“That means we have enough production capacity world over and there’s no need to worry about the availability of base oils going forward,” he said. Rao noted that Group I oil is witnessing decline in demand while demand for Group II and III oils is rising. Group IV polyalphaolefin and Group V, a catch-all category including naphthenic and other types of synthetics, are also seeing growth in demand, he added.