Synthetic Turbine Oils from Russia – Again


MOSCOW – Rosneft is developing fire-resistant turbine oils for Russias nuclear power plants, a product now imported from the United States, company and government officials said recently.

A U.S. subsidiary of the Israel-based ICL-Industrial Products is now the only supplier of such fluids to Rosenergoatom, Russias state-owned nuclear energy corporation. ICL supplies Rosenergoatom with Fyrquel-L, a specialty fluid made with triaryl phosphate ester base stocks.

We can only confirm that Rosneft [has plans] underway to develop trixylenyl phosphate fire-resistant turbine oil in accordance with the terms agreed with Rosenergoatom, a Rosneft official told Lube Report on condition of anonymity because the topic discussed is not supposed to be public.

He added that the company plans to start production of this specialty lubricant at Rosneft-Lubricants Novokuibyshev oils and additives plant, starting not later than 2021. Trixylenyl phosphate specialty fluids are used in large steam turbines of nuclear power plants where temperatures reach high enough to ignite mineral oils. These synthetic fluids are extremely difficult to ignite and inherently self-extinguishing. Besides their high oxidative and thermal stability, they can contain water and have good hydrolytic stability.

Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, fire resistant turbine oils were produced in Russia under the Omti brand, according to Luciya Galimova, senior researcher at the Electrogorsk Research and Engineering Center on Nuclear Power Plant Safety, owned by Rosenergoatom. Omti is the acronym for fire-resistant oil of the thermal engineering institute, a former Soviet scientific institution that first developed the fluid.

In the 1990s the formulation and production rights for Omti were sold to a United Kingdom based company from Manchester. Later the rights for production of this specialty were obtained by ICL-IP, Galimova told Lube Report during an interview on the sidelines of the GBCs CIS Base Oils and Lubricants conference held recently in Moscow. In a twist of fate, a formulation done made with pride by Soviet scientists ended up in the West. We lost the technology, and now we pay a high price for this product that is essentially ours.

Rosneft said that the revival of Omti is part of the government policy to replace imported products crucial for the countrys industry and economic development with products made by Russian companies.

Steam turbines in nuclear power plant.

Photo: Dolgikh Pavel/Shutterstock

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