Russia Eyes Base Stock Upgrades


MOSCOW – Taneco, a unit of Tatneft, disclosed plans last week to construct a new API Group II/Group III base oil plant in Russias Tatarstan region within three years, with capacity to make 100,000 metric tons of base stocks per year.

In addition, officials from three existing base oil refineries, two in Russia and a third in Turkmenistan, told an industry conference here that their facilities have plans to upgrade to Group II and/or Group III production. Those projects still await final approvals, however.

All of the announcements came at the World Refining Associations Base Oils and Lubricants in Russia and the CIS meeting, held April 16 and 17. Ilshat I. Salakhov, lead engineer in Tanecos Chief Process Engineering Department, told the conference that Taneco is building its base oil plant at the Nizhnekamsk refinery in Tatarstan. He added that its capacity will divide about evenly between Group II and Group III.

Reuters had reported earlier this month that Taneco received a $2 billion syndicated loan to finance the construction of the first phase of the Nizhnekamsk refinery and petrochemical complex. Tanecos parent company, Tatneft, is the refinerys main shareholder and project construction investor and is controlled by the government of the Russian republic of Tatarstan.

Gazprom in Omsk
Information about plans at the other plants was included in presentations that were given in Russian and were simultaneously translated into English. Yury Smolin, chief technologist at Gazproms Sibneft-Omsk Refinery in Omsk, said that refinery has adopted a four-phase plan to upgrade its base oil plant. The first phase calls for the company to decommission a phenol treatment plant and to replace it with an NMP solvent treatment unit. This would increase raffinate production and reduce energy and environmental costs.

The second phase would consist of installing a catalytic dewaxing unit. Management has not yet chosen between technology offered by Chevron Lummus or ExxonMobil, Smolin said. This step would allow the company to begin making Group II stocks. It would also allow decommissioning of three solvent units, which would eliminate jobs to reduce personnel costs.

In the third phase the refinery would replace two desalinization units with one, again eliminating jobs. Finally, the fourth phase of the plan calls for introduction of a hydrocracking unit. Residues from the unit would undergo catalytic dewaxing to produce Group III oils.

Smolin said the refinery has not made a final decision on the stages that would bring Group II and Group III capacity, but the current plan contemplates completing all stages within five to seven years. He also indicated that some capacity would remain Group I.

Our company believes there will be demand for all three grades of base oil, and it was on this that we based our plan, he said.

Rosneft and More
Igor Pavlov, general director for the oil and additives plant at Rosnefts Angarsk refinery, said the refinery has licensed technology to upgrade the base oil plant and is now designing the project. He did not indicate a timeline for the project or the levels of Group II or III capacity. He did say the project was a tough sell to Rosneft bosses.

It took us five years to prove our point to the parent company, Pavlov said. Unfortunately, with the exception of Lukoil, Russian oil companies are not focused on lubricants.

Ata Berdyev, head of the Oils and Additives Department at the Turkmenbashi Oil Processing Complex in Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan, said the refinery plans to expand its Group II capacity, which is currently 80,000 tons per year. The project calls for that number to increase to 120,000 to 160,000 tons per year, but the project must receive approval from the countrys oil ministry before moving forward.

Lukoils LLK-International General Director Maxim Donde told an earlier industry conference in London in February that Lukoil is investing $270 million to upgrade base oil production at its Perm and Volgograd refineries. At its Volgograd plant, the company will increase Group III production from the current 24,000 tons per year to 50,000 t/y by 2010, under a licensing agreement with Chevron Lummus.See “Bright Future for Russian Lubes,” Lube Report, Feb. 27,,0,w.

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