Experts say that nonconventional base stocks– meaning every kind except traditional solvent-refined mineral oils — account for less than 10 percent of the world’s lubricants. Volumes for these high-value materials tend to be measured in pounds, not barrels, and the top dogs are nearly always chemical companies rather than oil refiners. This makes each specialty its own exclusive club.
That was graphically demonstrated in Lubes’n’Greases‘ Nonconventional Base Stock Guide, published last month with the magazine’s U.S. edition. This colorful 33 by 22 inch wall chart shows the locations and owners of nearly 180 chemical plants worldwide that make the most widely used unconventional base stocks: esters, polyalkylene glycol, polyisobutene, phosphate esters, silicone oils, Group III mineral oils, and polyalpha- and poly internal olefins. Estimated capacities are shown for most plants as well, based on data from Pathmaster Marketing Ltd., company interviews and Lubes’n’Greases research.