GS Caltex’s lube division, Thai Oil Group’s base oil business and KH Neochem’s performance materials segment all reported much higher profits for the quarter ending June 30 than for the same period in 2020.
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South Korea-based GS Caltex’s lube division reported that operating profit grew 188% to 159.2 billion South Korean won (U.S. $136 million) in the second quarter, improving from ₩55.3 billion in 2020’s second quarter.
Sales grew 53% to ₩405.8 billion in the second quarter, up from ₩265 billion.
The 50-50 joint venture of GS and Chevron has capacity to produce 1.3 million metric tons per year of API Group II and Group III base oil at its plant in Yeosu and 9,000 b/d of finished lubricants at its blending plant in Incheon.
State-owned Thai Oil’s lube base oil business reported 1.4 billion Thai baht (U.S. $42.8 million) in net profit for the first quarter, improving from a loss of 139 million baht in 2020’s second quarter.
Lube base oil sales revenue grew 122% to 6.4 billion baht, up from 2.9 billion baht.
In its earnings presentation, Thai Oil noted that the price for its Group I 500 solvent neutral base oil and its spread over fuel oil significantly increased from 2020’s second quarter and from the first quarter this year, thanks to continuously light supply in the region as regional refineries cut production in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thai Oil also noted that more maintenance shutdowns of regional refineries occurred in the second quarter than in the first quarter this year, leading to limited feedstock volume and base oil supply.
According to its presentation, Thai Oil’s price for its Group I base oil – based on ex-tank Singapore price – averaged a whopping $1,425 per metric ton for 500 solvent neutral in the second quarter. That topped its $556/t average in 2020’s second quarter by 157% and was 25% higher than $1,142 mark in the first quarter this year.
The production rate for the plant in Si Racha, Thailand, reached 95% of nameplate capacity in the second quarter, up from 89% in the same quarter in 2020. Base oil production rose to 64,000 tons, up 8% from 59,000 tons.
The company operates a base oil plant with 267,000 metric tons per year of Group I production capacity. The base oils are mainly used in industrial and marine lubricants and in engine oils for older engines.
KH Neochem Co.’s performance materials segment, which includes refrigeration lubricant raw materials, reported that operating profit for the second quarter jumped 156% to ¥2.3 billion (U.S. $20.9 million), improving from ¥900 million in the same period in 2020.
The segment’s net sales reached ¥16.3 billion in the second quarter, up 136% from ¥6.9 billion.
For the first six months of this year, the segment’s operating profit rose 50% to ¥4.2 billion, and net sales grew 31% to ¥19.9 billion.
In its earnings presentation, the Japanese company noted that the performance materials segment’s results exceeded pre-COVID 19 levels. One factor noted was a tight supply-demand balance that led to higher product prices. The company also said it benefitted from the trend of increased use in China and other countries of refrigerants that contribute less to global warming.
Initiatives for KH Neochem’s refrigeration lubricant raw materials include aggressive global sales expansion, increased operation of new plants and consideration of further production capacity expansion.
The company specializes in oxo reactions that produce alcohols and esters along with derivatives such as 2-ethylhexanoic acid and isononanoic acid, which it sells as raw materials for lubricants. It also makes fatty acids, esters and feedstocks for niche lubricants used in refrigeration compressors.