Ineos Plans 2nd Largest PAO Plant


Ineos Plans 2nd Largest PAO Plant

Ineos Oligomers said yesterday it will build a 120,000 metric tons per year low viscosity polyalphaolefin facility at an undisclosed location. When it streams in early 2019, it will be the second-largest such plant for the company and worldwide.

Ineos Oligomers USA LLC announced the plans yesterday without disclosing the estimated cost of the project, which it said will be the worlds largest single-train, low-vis PAO unit. A spokesman confirmed that the company is still evaluating options for its location.

The League City, Texas-based firm, a subsidiary of Swiss parent Ineos Group, also noted that it will build a 420,000 t/y plant for the production of linear alpha olefins, the primary building block for PAOs, at Chocolate Bayou, Texas. The site will allow Ineos to source decene-1 – which will make up around 20 percent of the new LAO capacity – and other feedstocks needed for its PAO manufacturing.

Ineos has two existing PAO plants and is increasing capacity at both. An expansion at its La Porte, Texas, plant – which includes construction of a new, 20,000 t/y high-vis PAO unit announced in July 2015 – is still scheduled to stream during the first quarter of 2017, the company noted. That unit will use metallocene catalysts and will add to the sites existing output, which includes 85,000 t/y of Ineos PAO products along with additional capacity for toll manufacturing.

Ineos recently debottlenecked that site and optimized production runs at its 125,000 t/y plant in Feluy, Belgium, to gain approximately 15 percent more low-vis PAO capacity, a press statement noted. Further bottlenecking at Feluy may result in an additional 15 percent volume yield by early 2018.

Demand is rising for both low- and high-vis PAOs, Ineos said, noting that applications in industrial and automotive markets – such as passenger car motor oils, wind turbine oils, heavy-duty engine oils and more – are calling for high-quality synthetic base stocks.

The industry needs an increased supply of high-quality base oils such as PAO to formulate the next generation of advanced lubricant products, said Ineos Oligomers CEO Bob Learman. Ineos is making the commitment to invest in both the PAO capacity and the necessary LAO feedstock supply to ensure PAO is a viable and secure long-term formulation option for our customers.

Business director Joe Walton claimed that Ineos decene-based products have higher viscosity indexes, lower pour points and lower Brookfield viscosities than conventional base stocks.

Photo: Ineos