Ineos Aims High with High-vis PAO


Ineos Oligomers will build a unit at its La Porte, Texas, polyalphaolefin plant that will produce 20,000 metric tons per year of high-viscosity PAO upon start-up in late 2016.

Ineos Oligomers announced yesterday that by 2017, it will supply 20,000 metric tons per year of high-viscosity polyalphaolefins at a separate unit that it is building at its La Porte, Texas, PAO facility.

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Ineos has been scaling up production of high-vis PAOs at a separate facility in an undisclosed North American location for the past three years, but told Lube Report that it needs to build a world-scale production facility to cater to a global market that continues to grow.

The new unit will utilize our successful metallocene high-viscosity PAO technology that was first developed on a pilot scale and then optimized on a semi-works unit, said Project Manager Pete DiGiacinto in a press release. We had already expanded our initial supply capability by 50 percent to keep pace with demand.Therefore, it was the right time to transition into a full-scale unit.

Ineos said it will build the new high-viscosity PAO unit on the site that hosts its existing 90,000 t/y PAO plant in Texas, to exploit several available site synergies.

Ineos intent is to market the produced material in all regions, Ineos spokesman Kevin Ratliff told Lube Report. The material is a liquid at room temperature and can be easily shipped in drums or larger bulk containers.

The League City, Texas-based subsidiary of Switzerland-based Ineos Group told Lube Report that its also still on schedule to debottleneck the low-viscosity capacity of its La Porte plant by the end of this year, though it hasnt announced the capacity it is targeting upon completion.

This new unit will cement our position as a major producer of high-viscosity PAO and complements our existing global leadership in low-viscosity grades, Ineos business director Joe Walton added.

High-viscosity PAOs are used in a number of industrial and automotive applications, primarily as base stocks for gear lubricants, Ratliff said. High-viscosity PAO provides superior lubricating film formation resulting in reduced wear. Its high thermal and oxidative stability helps formulators produce lubricants that are long-lived and maintain performance under stressful conditions.

Walton added that compared to conventional PAOs, Ineos decene-based metallocene products have higher viscosity indexes, lower pour points and lower Brookfield viscosities. To date, the business has been a great success story for us, given the strong demand for wind turbine and other industrial applications.

Customers appreciate that Ineos is also a supplier of linear alpha olefins, which are the main building block for PAOs, Walton added.

In addition to the new high-vis unit, Ineos is undertaking several projects that will increase its output of PAOs as well as LAOs, which it uses as its primary raw material feed stock for PAOs. The company says it will install an additional production train of up to 80,000 t/y of PAO at an unspecified location by 2018 and will open an LAO plant on the U.S. Gulf Coast in the third quarter of 2017.