Base Oils from Bitumen


Sichuan province-based Zhonghai Jinxiang Co. plans to build a facility that will make naphthenic base oils for industrial lubricants using feedstock from an existing bitumen refinery.

The bitumen plant is located in Luzhou city and is operated by China Offshore Bitumen, a division of China National Offshore Oil Co. The project, which includes installation of a hydrocracker, will cost RMB 700 million (U.S. $112.3 million), Zhonghai Jinxiang said.

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A COB source told Lube Report Asia that the project was initiated by COB Sichuan but later sold to Zhonghai Jinxiang. Its Jinxiangs project now, but we are still doing some technical support, he said, declining to give any details.

Feedstock for the new plant will be oils distilled from COBs bitumen plant. The hydrocracker is being purchased from a Sinopec branch in Zhejiang province – Zhenhi Refining & Chemical Co., according to a Zhonghai Jinxiang project manager who declined to provide his name. It also is using catalyst from Sinopec research and development arm Fushun Research Institute of Petroleum and Petrochemicals.

Zhonghai Jinxiang said the plant will produce base oils that will be used to make electrical transformer oils, rubber process oils and refrigeration lubricants, along with diesel. Other byproducts include liquefied petroleum, ammonium chloride and liquid sodium hydrosulfide, along with electrical transformer oil, rubber process oils and refrigerator lubricants. The first stage construction is due August 2015, with an annual capacity of 150,000 tons.

We hope this project will supply highly refined base stocks to Sichuan local companies to produce high quality industrial lubes, most of which are currently bought from other areas, the Zhonghai Jinxiang manager said.

Zhonghai Jinxiang is a new company that does not yet have a website. Although it has Zhonghai in its name, the company is not associated with COB or CNOOC (both of which have Zhonghai in their Chinese names), although the new facility is next to COBs plant.

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