PAOs Flow in China


This month will see the startup of a new, privately owned polyalphaolefin plant in China. By early July, say officials with Naco Lubrication Co. Ltd., their Shanghai facility aims to be making commercial volumes of high-viscosity PAO and other components used to make synthetic lubricants.

Naco will help meet Chinas growing demand for high-quality lubricants and additives, indicated Zhongwen Liu, deputy general manager of the company. In addition to 15,000 metric tons per year of PAO, the plant will have capacity to make 10,000 t/y of alkylated naphthalene, alkylbenzene and other specialties.

The facility will make three high-vis PAO grades that will be marketed under the Sinosyn brand name, explained Qingcai Liu, manager of Nacos marketing department. These include a 150 centiStoke PAO that is intended to appeal to lubricant manufacturers in China, for making products such as SAE 20W-50 heavy-duty diesel engine oils.

Other products, including 40 and 100 cSt PAO grades and a light-colored alkylated naphthalene (AN23), will be made available to markets outside China, starting with North America. These synthetic base oils are ideal for making engine oils, industrial gear oils and lubricating greases, Qingcai Lui remarked.

The Chinese government bans the export of mineral oil products, but as chemical products, synthetic base oils are not subject to these restrictions.

Naco has done business as an international trading company since 1998, and is one of the countrys largest importers and distributors of polyisobutylene used in lubricant manufacturing, according to Zhongwen Liu.

The two executives spoke with Lube Report Asia during the annual meeting and exhibition of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers, held in Orlando, Florida, United States, in mid-May. They had traveled there to unveil their products on the world stage, and were brimming with excitement to see their plans coming to fruition, after three years of effort.

Accompanying them were Liwen Wei and Phil Levy of Novitas Chem Solutions, which is based in Bellaire, Texas, near Houston, and represents Nacos synthetic products throughout North America. According to Wei, Novitas managing director, Naco put in place a supply chain that ensures it has access to decene, the building block chemical needed to make PAO.

With the intent to secure sufficient olefin supplies, Naco Synthetics formed a 50/50 joint venture with Luan Group at the Tunliu coal-to-liquids complex, located in Changzhi City, Shanxi province, Wei told Lube Report Asia. Through this venture, Naco expects to secure 10,000 t/y of olefins supply, he added.

The new plant, located in the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park, is the companys first move into manufacturing, but it wont be its last, Zhongwen Liusaid. Naco also plans to open a second PAO plant in Chinas Shangxi province.

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