Russian PAOs Return in December


MOSCOW-Russian oil major Tatneft and subsidiary Nizhnekamskneftekhim announced plans to restart polyalphaolefins production at its plant in Nizhnekamsk, Republic of Tatarstan, which has been idled for five years.

The 9,600 tons-per-year base oil plant will produce an array of products including 2 centiStoke, 4 cSt, 6 cSt, and 12 cSt PAO as well as a 20 cSt stock that was not available before 2010.

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The capacity for the first range of products [2 cSt to 12 cSt PAO] is 3,100 t/y, while the capacity for the 20 cSt product is 6,500 t/y, Gabbas Ilyasov, Nizhnekamskneftekhims deputy director for development, told GBCs Base Oils, Lubricants and Fuels conference held here in May. The start of production for the first range of products is set for the years end — latest December — the 20 cSt product launch will happen in the first quarter of 2016.

In addition to PAO production, the company is set to supply finished lubricants as well. The plant is getting ready to produce synthetic and semi-synthetic oils, with a starting capacity of 10,000 t/y and the possibility to expand to 30,000 t/y, according to Ilyasov.

Besides the products formulated with the in-house PAO base stocks, such as vacuum, refrigerator, transmission or gear oils, Nizhnekamskneftekhim is planning to use 2.5 cSt API Group II and 4cSt Group III base oil supplied by its parent company to produce automotive and industrial lubricants. The advanced formula of our 20 cSt Group IV base stock is great for formulations of high quality transmission and gear oils as well as greases, or as a component for formulation of synthetic and semi-synthetic oils, Ilyasov said.

Late last year, Tatnefts Taneco refinery launched a base oil plant with capacity to make 90,000 t/y of Group II base oils and 100,000 t/y of Group III base oils.

The PAO plant originally opened in 2003 after being constructed for a price tag of $49 million. Supply problems occurred in 2005, when the plants supplier of feedstock ethylene raised prices. The plant accumulated debt and experienced losses because the noncompetitive prices of its finished products ultimately led to a production halt. In addition, Tatneft had to invest more than 75 million rubles [around U.S. $2.1 million at that time, before the 2014 ruble devaluation] to fix a designers mistakes.

After both parent companies realized that the PAO plant could become profitable as Russian demand for high quality base stocks increased over the last couple of years, they decided to revamp it and restart production.

Besides base oils and lubricants, Nizhnekamskneftekhim produces polyethylene, synthetic rubber and other chemical products. It uses decene and 1-octene alpha olefin feedstock from its parent company to produce PAO.