Ineos to Expand PAO Capacity


Ineos has decided to invest in its recently acquired polyalphaolefin business. The companys oligomers unit announced Monday that it will increase annual capacity at twoPAO plants by 50,000 metric tons by 2009.

The Southhampton, U.K.-based chemical supplier acquired its plants – located in Feluy, Belgium, and La Porte, Texas – as part of its 2005 purchase of Innovene from BP. Ineos Oligomers said it is undertaking the expansion to accommodatecurrent and futuredemand for high performance lubricants, especially in Europe.

This [project] is to meet growth that we have seen over the last two years, said Jan Vermeersch, commercial general manager for Europe.

Some of it is related to the overall struggle of the lubricants industry, he added, referring to a series of base oil supply disruptions in Europe and the United States. Some of it is related to the move from Group I base oils to higher grade base oils in passenger car motor oils and other types of lubricants.

The Feluy and La Porte plants each have capacity of 75,000 tons now. Ineos said that most of the expansion will take place in Europe, but it did not disclose the exact breakdown, nor the cost of the project. The expansion will take place in three phases, one each to be completed next year, in 2008 and in 2009.

Through the acquisition of olefins supplier Innovene, Ineos became one of the worlds largest producers of linear alphaolefins, the building blocks for PAOs. Ineos consists of 18 divisions that supply diverse specialty and intermediate chemicals, from chlorine to phenols to silicas and vinyl.

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