Safety-Kleen Spreads Wings


Safety-Kleen Inc. on Monday announced a $15 million expansion of its East Chicago, Ind., rerefinery, which is expected to increase its API Group I base oil capacity by 10 million gallons annually, about 650 barrels per day.

The plant had about 3,500 b/d of Group I capacity before the expansion, according to the LubesnGreases 2008 Guide to Global Base Oil Refining.

John Kyte, Safety-Kleens director of corporate communications, said the expansion, which he called fundamentally complete, involved some new construction, changes in technical equipment and expansion of storage tank capacity. It added seven storage tanks and about 16 acres of land, Kyte told Lube Report.

Plano, Texas-based Safety-Kleen had looked at expanding the plant for some time because the rerefinery business had proven successful, according to Kyte. We were at capacity, saw the opportunity to continue to collect more used oil and to increase capacity, so it made good business sense, he explained. We began the actual upgrade back in 2006, and our timing has proven pretty good given the rising prices of oil. Although it is a margin business, were in good shape.

While the company has begun some marketing of its recycled motor oil to consumers, Kyte emphasized that large fleets are the main market for the product. Predominantly it is government agencies, both state and federal, and other organizations with large fleets, he added. Examples include the U.S. military, the U.S. Postal Service, the Chicago Transit Authority, and official State of Indiana vehicles.

Michael Ebert, vice president of Safety-Kleens U.S. rerefinery operations, said the East Chicago facility has recycled 1.6 billion gallons of used motor oil since April 1991.

In addition to Safety-Kleen, other North American rerefiners include Evergreen, which operates an 800 b/d Group I rerefinery in Newark, Calif.; and Newalta Corp. in North Vancouver, B.C., with a capacity of 500 b/d of Group I. Evergreen is adding 550 b/d of new Group II capacity at the Newark plant, via an expansion scheduled to go on-line in the first quarter of 2009. Also, Heartland Petroleum LLC expects to begin production some time in December at its new rerefinery in Columbus, Ohio, with an estimated 1,500 b/d of Group II capacity.

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