Tatneft has finished building a lubricants blending plant at the site of its Taneco refinery in Nizhnekamsk, Russia, and plans to start operations in June, the company told Lube Report.
he oil major’s press department confirmed that the facility, which has capacity to make 25,000 metric tons of lubricants per year, will open that month although the exact date has not been scheduled.
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“We are operating in normal working mode, and we are observing all hygienic and sanitary procedures,” a Tatneft spokesperson said Monday, when asked whether the coronavirus pandemic is affecting operations at the refinery or might delay the blending plant opening.
“Next year we plan to expand it to up to 60,000 t/y,” Ilshat Salakhov, head of Taneco refinery, said about the blending plant.
The project cost 1 billion rubles (U.S. $13.4 million) and was announced early last year, after Tatneft’s 2018 divestiture of its stake in Tatneft-Nizhnekamskneftekhim-Oil, a 75-25 joint venture between Tatneft and chemicals company Nizhnekamskneftekhim, of the Taif Group. The JV produced Tatneft’s Lux-branded finished lubricants.
Salakhov said the refinery produced around 6,000 tons of finished lubes while the blending plant was being built in 2019, but he expects the new plant will boost production in coming months. The oil major now hopes to expand its product line while leveraging output from the refinery’s 190,000 t/y API Group II and III base oil plant.
“We are planning to produce premium products on par with those of the leading global lubricant makers,” he said, adding that the company has obtained engine oil approvals from many popular car and truck makers, including Kamaz.
The company hopes to turn a profit on its blending plant investment in three and a half years “as one ton of lubricants pays double compared to that of diesel or gasoline fuels,” Salakov said. “But there is a hitch: While fuels can be sold in cisterns, lubricants are sold in small canisters or barrels. That’s why we plan to build an effective dealership network,” Salakhov said.
Along with the older blending plant, Nizhnekamskneftekhim acquired sole ownership of a 10,000 t/y polyalphaolefin plant when the joint disbanded in 2018. Salakov said the PAO plant had zero output in 2019 after approaching capacity in 2018 for the first time in a number of years.
“After more than ten years of idling, we came in and succeeded in resuming the company’s PAOs production in January 2018,” he said. “In that year we produced 8,500 tons of this product, while in the years prior to the shutdown, they produced only 4,500 tons annually.” He confirmed that Nizhnekamskneftekhim is also modernizing its facility with construction of new lubricants blending capacity.