Not much waste oil rerefining occurs in Australia, but two projects currently underway should boost production of rerefined base stocks.
Southern Oil Refining Pty., one of two rerefiners in the country, is building a second plant in the Queensland city of Gladstone. The facility, scheduled to open in March 2014, is designed with capacity to produce 60 million liters of API Group II base stocks per year (1,000 barrels per day).
In addition, SOR reached an agreement for Hydrodec to co-locate its used transformer oil rerefinery at the site of SORs existing rerefinery in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Hydrodec announced last week. The companies said the venture should create mutually beneficial synergies.
We have complementary strengths and specialist expertise in our businesses, and combined we will be able to leverage those strengths to pursue new opportunities in Australia and internationally, SOR Managing Director Tim Rose said in a statement released by Hydrodec.
The Gladstone rerefinery will have throughput capacity to handle approximately 100 million l/y of waste oil, about triple the size of SORs Wagga Wagga plant, Rose said. According to him, Australia currently has just one other rerefinery of general waste oils – a Transpacific Refiners facility in Rutherford, New South Wales that is roughly the size of SORs Wagga Wagga plant.
Rose told Lube Report that Queensland should support a larger plant. Queensland is a big mining state, and the industry produces a lot of waste oil, he said, adding that the company expects to get approximately 60 percent of its feedstock from mining companies. Rose noted that Australia does not have any virgin base oil plants and suggested that this should make domestic lubricant blenders more receptive to locally rerefined base oil.
Hydrodecs existing facility has capacity to process 6.5 million l/y of used transformer oil, producing nearly an equal amount of rerefined naphthenic base oil. The new facility at SORs site will be the same size, according to Chris Ellis, Hydrodecs chief financial officer. Hydrodec will retain all rights and ownership of the Hydrodec brand, business and technology in Australia and will continue to manage all commercial aspects of the business including used oil procurement and sales and marketing of naphthenic base oil as well as transformer oils sold under its Superfine brand.
The reason were moving to SORs site is to make our operations more efficient by sharing facilities such as the operations room and activities such as unloading, he said.
Transformer oils and other lubricants require separate rerefineries, partly because the former are made with naphthenic base oils while engine oils and many other lubricants are made with paraffinic base stocks. In addition, one of the main tasks in recycling transformer oils is the removal of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Like most modern rerefineries, Hydrodecs process includes hydrotreatment and a polishing step.