U.S. Base Oil Capacity Up in 2002


Base oil refining capacity in the United States increased slightly in 2002, according to the latest report from the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association.

As the report notes, U.S. capacity stands to fall during 2003. Indeed, Shell Oil Products US plans next week to finish shutting down its 9,500-barrel-per-day Deer Park, Texas, base oil plant. In addition, Shell plans to close its Martinez, Calif., plant (4,700 b/d) Sept. 1.

Total capacity for virgin base oil stood at 208,400 barrels per day as of Jan. 1, according to the 2003 Lubricating Oil and Wax Capacities report, up 3,300 b/d from last year. The increase was due mostly to a 3,000 b/d expansion at Ergons naphthenic refinery in Vicksburg, Miss. ChevronTexaco increased capacity at its Richmond, Calif., plant by 1,000 b/d, while Calumet Lubricants lost an equal amount during the reconfiguration of its Shreveport, La., refinery. Capacities at several other plants fluctuated by 200 b/d or less.

On the paraffinic side of the market, Group I and premium stocks continued to head in opposite directions. Group I capacity dipped from 88,000 b/d to 86,900 b/d, while capacity for Group II and Group III rose from 71,800 b/d to 76,200 b/d. In the latter category, Calumet and ExxonMobil each added 1,600 b/d at their Shreveport and Baytown, Texas, facilities, respectively.

Capacities in Canada and Latin America were unchanged, at 24,000 b/d and 20,800 b/d, respectively.

The 2002 report listed U.S. capacity of 210,400 b/d, but that included 5,300 b/d of purchased base oil that Crompton Corp. was processing into white oils. Excluding that amount, capacity at the start of last year was 205,100 b/d. Likewise, the finished base oil capacity listed for Petro-Canadas Mississauga, Ontario, plant was reduced this year from 15,000 b/d to 12,500 b/d, but the company described the change as a correction and said that operations have not been altered.

Electronic versions of the 2003 report are available free to NPRA members. Non-members may purchase hard copies for $25. For information: www.npradc.org/publications/statistics/

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