Ineos to Build Low-vis PAO Plant in Texas


Ineos Oligomers announced Dec. 14 its final investment decision to build a 120,000 metric tons per year low-viscosity polyalphaolefin plant at its Chocolate Bayou, Texas, petrochemical refinery. Scheduled for start-up in 2019s third quarter, the project will make Ineos by far the worlds leading PAO producer, with total capacity of 350,000 t/y.

The investment amount was not disclosed.

The new plant is targeted to supply PAO to all regions, Kevin Ratliff, Ineos marketing manager in the Americas for PAO and linear alpha olefins, told Lube Report. The Chocolate Bayou location allows for easy access to alpha olefin feed – from our soon to be new [LAO] plant at the site – and also easy access to export options from the Houston infrastructure. We see strong future growth in all regions. The company estimates that the PAO and LAO plants will employ approximately 100 people.

The companys low-viscosity PAO business continues to benefit from lubricant marketers reformulating products both to attain better fuel economy and to lower carbon emissions, Joe Walton, business director for Ineos Oligomers, said in news release. He claimed the company is currently the worlds largest merchant supplier of low-viscosity PAO and that the investment will ensure Ineos Oligomers maintains that position.

The new unit in Chocolate Bayou will become the worlds largest single PAO train, according to Ineos. He said the units size underscores the companys commitment to keep pace with its customers expanding requirements well into the next decade.

Walton noted the company has a worldwide network of PAO production trains and bulk storage locations. Ineos La Porte, Texas, plant has 105,000 t/y capacity and also has additional capacity for toll manufacturing. The companys PAO plant in Feluy, Belgium, has 125,000 t/y capacity.

The addition of another new unit, in a new location, further increases the robustness of our global supply chain, he said. This capability can offer advantages versus competing lubricant base oils that may sometimes come from a single production source.

The Chocolate Bayou PAO unit will obtain feedstock from the adjacent 420,000 t/y LAO plant now under construction at the same site. Our existing LAO units in Joffre, Canada, and Feluy, Belgium, produce the feed for our current PAO capacity, he noted.

ExxonMobil Chemical has three PAO plants with combined capacity of 284,000 t/y. Chevron Phillips Chemical also has three plants with combined capacity of 130,000 t/y.

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