Snapshot of U.S. Base Oil Capacity


The National Petrochemical and Refiners Association released its 2011 Lubricating Oil and Wax Capacities Report, with data on base oil and wax plants in the United States, Canada and Latin America.

Base oil capacity in the United States totaled 214,100 barrels per day on Jan. 1, according to NPRA, down slightly from 214,500 b/d at the start of 2010.

U.S. API Group I capacity stood at 63,600 b/d, unchanged from 2010, according to NPRAs report. Group II and III capacity totaled 102,400 b/d, down from 105,800 in 2010. Naphthenics reached 48,100, up from 45,100 b/d in 2010.

The paraffinic total includes 11,000 b/d Group I capacity at the Paulsboro, N.J. refinery now owned by PBF Holding, which the company confirmed would be included in a revised version of the NPRA report. The naphthenic total includes 2,000 barrels per day of mildly hydrotreated base oil which San Joaquin confirmed is naphthenic capacity.

The publication lists locations, capacities, refinery configurations and ownership for 19 U.S. base oil and wax plants, three in Canada and two in Latin America. The report also includes four rerefineries. The report looks at upcoming changes in capacity and includes a recap of the base oil industry scene.

The increased naphthenic capacity in the 2011 reflects Ergons increase. In November 2010, Ergon stated it took advantage of an unplanned outage at its Vicksburg, Miss., naphthenic refinery, and completed maintenance that had been planned for February. With the repairs, base oil manufacturing capacity increased by 3,000 b/d. In addition to refilling depleted inventories, the capacity was to enable Ergon to develop new product offerings.

According to NPRAs report, paraffinic capacity changes included Group I base oil plant closures by Shell and Imperial Oil.

Shell converted its 130,000 barrels per day Montreal East Refinery to a terminal to receive gasoline, diesel and aviation fuels. The refinery had included a base oil plant with 2,700 barrels per day Group I capacity.

In February 2010, Imperial Oil announced plans to stop base oil production at its Sarnia, Ontario, refinery by mid-2011 to focus on fuels, which the business views as more profitable. Spokesman John Harding said there was potential to advance the switch to fuels sooner if economic and practical. That was the case, so around Nov. 1, 2010, there was no longer base oil manufacturing at Sarnia, Harding told Lube Report. The plant had 2,800 barrels per day of API group I and 3,800 b/d of Group II base oil capacity.

According to NPRAs report, the capacity at Excel Paralubes Westlake, La., plant was adjusted from 21,900 b/d to 19,000 b/d Group II for 2011. FHR and Conoco Phillips each market half of the output of the Excel Paralubes refinery. By press time, Lube Report was unable to confirm the change in capacity.

The largest upcoming addition remains Chevrons planned 25,000 b/d Group II base oil facility, with estimated completion in 2013, at its Pascagoula, Miss., refinery. Chevron in January outlined plans to start construction of the $1.4 billion base oil plant.

Amongst rerefiners, Safety-Kleen adjusted its Group I base oil capacity at its East Chicago, Ind., rerefinery from 2,600 b/d down to 800 b/d, while raising the Group II capacity there from 2,000 b/d up to 4,200 b/d.

The North American rerefining market will get additional players in the coming years. Heritage-Crystal Clean last year announced plans for a rerefinery in Indiana that would begin production in 2012 of about 2,000 barrels per day of Group II base oil.

Avista Oil AG recently acquired a 50 percent stake in Universal Environmental Services LLC, enabling Universal to plan a base oil rerefinery in Peachtree City, Ga., that is expected to be operational by 2013. No estimated base oil production capacity estimate has been released.

The 13-page 2011 Lubricating Oil and Wax Capacities Report is free to NPRA member companies, and costs $35 for nonmembers. For ordering information, visit

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