Kyrgyz Plant to Stream Base Oil

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A new Chinese-run refinery expected to start up by Oct. 20 in Kyrgyzstan will produce base oil by 2014, the countrys energy minister said.

The $300 million refinery, located in Kara-Balta about a two hour drive west of the capital of Bishkek, is a Chinese investment developed by state-run petrol company Zhongda. The 800,000 metric tons per year fuel refinery includes a 50,000 t/y base oil plant, which is expected to stream by April 2014, when the refinery could reach its full capacity.

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Yes, we are aware about this project. A few years ago we analyzed crude oil brought from that region by some Kyrgyz state representatives, Oleg Tsvetkov, head of the oil and lubricants department at All Russia Research Institute for Oil Refining (VNIINP), told Lube Report last week. It was the last time we heard about that. Obviously, all technical development of the refinery is done by the Chinese, and we know little about what base oil it can produce.

The refinery’s opening was delayed a few times in the last couple of years after many environmental, labor and real estate disputes between the local population and the Chinese company officials. It will help end Kyrgyzstans dependence on expensive Russian fuel and lubricants imports, which currently stand at nearly 1.2 million tons annually, according to the Kyrgyz state statistics committee.

The country’s only domestic refining facility produces around 70,000 t/y of low quality gasoline and diesel fuel. The new Kara-Balta refinery is the only such facility in Central Asia that can produce fuel equivalent to Euro-3 specification, boasted Kyrgyz energy minister Temir Sariev during a ceremony last week. The refinery was switched on as part of a testing regimen.

The refinery can produce gasoline and diesel fuels, base oil, liquefied petroleum gas and other petrochemical products. It will receive crude from the Chinese-run oil fields in Kazakhstan.

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