CP Chem Jumps to #3 in PAO


Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. has agreed to buy Neste Oil NVs polyalphaolefin plant in Beringen, Belgium, the companies announced Friday. The acquisition gives Chevron Phillips a production foothold in Europe and makes it one of the globes three big suppliers of PAOs.

The companies did not disclose the price for the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval. Chevron Phillips said it took an opportunity to grow geographically.

We are excited about this acquisition as it represents a unique opportunity for Chevron Phillips… to expand our presence in Europe, Dennis Holtermann, general manager of normal alpha olefins and polyalphaolefins, said in a written statement.

The Beringen plants capacity is 60,000 metric tons per year. Chevron Phillips, which is based in The Woodlands, Texas, already operates a 48,000 t/y PAO plant in Cedar Bayou, Texas. With total capacity of 104,000 t/y, Chevron Phillips will rank behind Ineos (two plants with combined capacity of 202,500 t/y) and ExxonMobil (also two plants with combined capacity of 144,500 t/y).

PAOs are used to make high-performance lubricants, among other applications. Margins have fallen off in recent years, and analysts say they see not much prospect for improvement, largely because of an influx of capacity making API Group III base oils. Group III oils fail to match PAO performance for some properties, but they still compete for use in some lubricant applications.

The Beringen plant is the sole PAO holding for Neste, which is headquartered in Keilaranta, Finland. Neste said it decided to sell the plant to concentrate on Group III operations. The company operates a wholly owned Group III plant in Porvoo, Finland, and is on the verge of opening a second plant, a joint venture with Bahrains Bapco, in Bahrain. It also has a second joint venture – with Takreer – to open a Group III plant in Ruwais, United Arab Emirates by 2014.

This divestment gives Neste Oil an opportunity to focus on the development of its high-performance base oils business in those market segments which are growing strongly and where Neste Oil has distinct competitive advantages, Executive Vice President for Oil Products and Renewables Matti Lehmus said.

Chevron Phillips said it expects the sale to close in a few months.

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