Omsk Refinery Makes Calcium Sulfonate

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Omsk Refinery Makes Calcium Sulfonate
Base oil storage tanks at Gazprom's refinery in Omsk, Russia. The company expects to begin streaming API Group II and III base oils from a plant at the site later this year. Photo courtesy of Gazpromneft-Lubricants

Gazprom Neft is continuing with a project to add API Group II and III capacity to it refinery in Omsk, Russia, but the site has already begun making lubricant additives.

In a recent report the company announced that the Omsk refinery started making calcium sulfonates, which are used as corrosion inhibitors in lubricating oils and greases.

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 “In 2020 the first commercial batch of high-pH calcium sulfonate additives was produced at our Omsk lubricants plant,” Gazpromneft-Lubricants General Director Alexandr Trukhan told Lube Report. The refinery has produced 80 metric tons of these additives so far and is preparing to increase the output to 3,400 tons per year by 2024.

Meanwhile, the refinery is still moving forward with an upgrade and expansion of its base oil plant, which already has capacity to make 260,000 t/y of Group I stocks. Trukhan declined to provide a target date for the project’s completion but said the company will announce the timing by the end of this year.

The project is designed to give the facility capacity to make 230,000 t/y of Group II and III. According to an earlier statement by VNIPIneft, a Moscow-based research and design institute in the refining industry, that volume will include 150,000 t/y of Group II and 80,000 t/y of Group III.

According to Gazprom Neft, Russian import volumes of Group II and Group III products totaled 190,000 tons in 2019. The company hopes its new base oils will replace a large portion of these imports.

This will allow us to cover our needs in high-performance components and consequently increase [our] packaged lubricants market share in Russia to 25 percent by 2030.”

At the moment, three Russian plants are capable of making Group II or III stocks. Tatneft’s Taneco refinery in Niznekamsk has capacity to make 90,000 t/y of Group II and 100,000 t/y of Group III, while Lukoil’s Volgograd plant can make 30,000 t/y of Group III, along with 520,000 t/y of Group I.

Slavneft, a 50/50 joint venture between Rosneft and Gazprom energy giants, operates a 100,000 t/y, Group III base oil plant in Yaroslavl.

One outside observer suggested that the upgraded base oil capacity at Omsk is probably not on the verge of opening.

“Gazprom Neft is not in a hurry because they still have the Group III base oil plant with Slavneft,” Oleg Tsvetkov, chief specialist at Topchiev Institute of Petrochemical Synthesis of the Royal Academy of Science, told a reporter. “However, Gazprom Neft is investing in additional Group III production [primarily for European markets] because the price of crude and fuels stays low, while the Group II and III base oil prices have remained the same as pre-pandemic levels, so it makes economic sense for them to have additional base oil products ready to ship to Europe.”