Japan Makes Naphthenic Oils, Too


SINGAPORE – Japan is Asias third-largest producer of base oils, and its supply base includes three facilities that make naphthenic stocks.

Those plants manufacture approximately 180,000 metric tons per year of pale oils, an official from Sun Oil said at an industry event here recently, oils that are used in transformer fluids, process oils, metalworking fluids and other applications.

Japan has capacity to produce 2.8 million t/y of base stocks, Japan Sun Oil Co. Executive Director Anna Hiramatsu said here during a June 9 seminar ahead of the ICIS Asian Base Oils & Lubricants Conference. Of that amount, 210,000 t/y of capacity is at three naphthenic plants. A Sankyo Yuka Kogyo K.K. facility in Chiba solely owned by JX Nippon Oil has capacity of 100,000 t/y.

Union Sekiyu Kogyo operates a 58,000 t/y plant in Iwakuni. The company is co-owned by JX Nippon, Idemitsu and company employees, which own stakes of 31 percent, 31 percent and 30 percent, respectively. Taniguchi Petroleum Refining, a joint venture between Taniguchi Oil Corp. and JX Nippon, has a 58,000 t/y plant in Kawagoe, Mie prefecture.

According to Hiramatsu, combined output is around 170,00 t/y to 180,000 t/y. The largest share of those pale oils are used to make electrical transformer oils, she said. Japans transformer oil market is approximately 60,000 t/y, she added, and although some of that volume is made using other base stocks, such as paraffinics, alkyl benzenes and plant oil derivatives, most is made with naphthenics.

The balance of [naphthenic consumption] is for process oils, metalworking oils, refrigeration oils, greases and other products, she said.

China is the only other Asian nation producing naphthenic base oil plants.

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