Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. said Monday that it will now guarantee that its base stocks meet specified parameters for viscosity index and tendency to evaporate at high operating temperatures.
The move represents an effort to gain market recognition for the high performance characteristics of its base oils and perhaps to adapt to the increased difficulty that new entrants face in obtaining finished lubricant approvals for their base stocks.
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Adnoc’s base stocks are produced by Takreer, the company’s refining arm, at its fuels refinery in Al Ruwais, United Arab Emirates. The plant opened in 2016 with capacity to make 500,000 metric tons per year of API Group III oils and 100,000 t/y of Group II.
In a press release Monday, Adnoc said it will guarantee that the Group III oils meet a specification defined by viscosity index and Noack volatility, the tendency of lubricants to evaporate at automobile engine operating temperatures, as defined by ASTM D5800 bench test. It said the company’s 4 centiStoke oil is guaranteed to have a V.I. of 127 and Noack volatility of 12. The 6 and 8 cSt oils are guaranteed to have V.I. of 130 and Noack volatility of 7 and 4, respectively.
The company said this would categorize those oils as Group III+. The American Petroleum Institute defines Group I, II and III categories of paraffinic base stocks based on V.I. and levels of saturates and sulfur. Group III oils have V.I. of more than 120, are more than 90% saturated molecules and contain less than 0.03% by weight sulfur. Group II+ and Group III+ are informal marketing categories used increasingly within the industry. Group III+ is generally recognized as referring to Group III oils with V.I. of 130 or higher.
As Adnoc noted, there is growing demand for Group III+ because automotive engine oil specifications are trending toward lower viscosity and lower Noack.
“For lubricant manufacturers, a higher grade base oil is an optimal option for top tier lubricants, while for customers a higher quality base oil means better fuel efficiency for their cars,” said Muhra Al Suwaidi, acting vice president of base oil and special product sales, in ADNOC’s Marketing, Supply and Trading Directorate.
To market base stocks to engine oil blenders, it is generally key to carry certificates documenting that finished lubricants formulated with those base stocks have met industry and original equipment manufacturer specifications. In recent years it has become harder and more expensive for new base stock marketers to obtain such approvals because lubricant additive companies – which traditionally sponsor testing programs – are less motivated to gain approvals for more base stocks.
Adnoc mentioned several specifications for which its oils carry approvals – ACEA C2, C3 and C5; API SP; BMW LL-04; MB-229.31, -229.51 and -229.52; and OPEL OV 0401547. It also stated that it continues working to obtain additional approvals.