Shell Opens 8th China Blend Plant

Shell opened a new blending plant Tianjin, China, Thursday, the latest in a series of investments by the company in the nations large and growing lubricant market.

The facility, which has capacity to make 300,000 metric tons per year of lubricants, is Shells second in Tianjin and its eighth in the country. In late 2013 the company upgraded a plant in Zhapu and expanded its capacity to 360,000 t/y, and earlier that year it opened a 30,000 t/y grease plant in Zhuhai.

We will continue to invest in upgrading and expanding our existing assets and are committed to building a robust lubricant supply chain here, a Shell spokesman told Lube Report Asia.

According to consultancy Kline & Co., China represents about 46 percent of lubricant demand within the Asia-Pacific region, which is 43 percent of worldwide demand. Kline projects the compound annual growth rate of demand for lubricants in China from 2013 to 2023 will be 6.1 percent for consumer products, 2.5 percent for commercial transport applications and about 2 percent for industrial applications.

Shell claims to be the leading foreign lubricant supplier in China with a market share of 12 percent.

In addition to the facilities in Tianjin and Zhapu, Shell has blending plants in Beijing, Xianyang, Wuxi, Shanghai, Zhuhai and Hong Kong. Besides Zhuhai, it has grease plants at its blending facilities in Beijing and Wuxi.

The Beijing, Wuxi and Xianyang facilities are part of Shell Tongyi (Beijing) Petroleum, a 75-25 joint venture with the Huo Group. Shell is currently trying to sell its stake in the joint venture.

Shell said it will continue upgrading and expanding lubricant facilities in China but it is currently focused on performance of recent investments. The new Tianjin plant was designed to allow future expansion to 450,000 t/y.