Tianjin Complex Will Have Lube Plant

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Sinopec announced recently that it is proceeding with plans to build a petrochemical refining complex in Tianjin, China, and that it will include a finished lubricant blending plant.

The state-owned energy giant did not disclose details of the lube facility, but the overall plan follows up on a previously announced strategy to turn Tianjin into a hub for chemical building blocks.

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Tianjin, a major northeastern port city on Bohai Bay, is already a hub for lubricant production and one of the country’s main ports of entry for imported base oils. Last year the local government entered an agreement with Sinopec to cooperate in developing facilities that produce “new materials.”

One goal is to extend the supply chain in China to make higher-value, differentiated products for which China wants to develop low-cost competitive advantages. Another is to make materials that have small carbon footprints.

The complex – named the Tianjin Nangang High-end New Materials Project Cluster – has an estimated price tag of ¥60.3 billion (U.S. $9.4 billion) and will consist of 11 key projects, including the lubricant plant. The centerpiece will be a petrochemical refinery with capacity to make 1.2 million metric tons per year of ethylene – much of which will be further processed into other materials.

Sinopec said one of the other facilities will make what it called ultra-high molecular weight alpha olefins. Others will produce acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polyolefin elastomers and high-density polyethylene.

Sinopec announced May 20 that it is proceeding with the complex. It plans to open the ethylene plant in 2023 and to finish the project by 2025.

Tianjin also wants to establish a research center that will develop expertise in such materials.

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