This spring, ExxonMobil Chemical more than doubled its capacity for making high-viscosity polyalphaolefin base oils when it hung a complete sign on its new PAO plant in Baytown, Texas. Most critically, Baytown put a third leg under the companys API Group IV table, making it the only company in the world to own and operate three PAO plants and fortifying its supply security.
The freshly minted plant, which began commercial production earlier this summer, has capacity to make 50,000 tons per year of PAO via a proprietary metallocene catalyst process. It joined sister plants in Beaumont, Texas, and Gravenchon, France, that use conventional processes to make PAO. Marketed under the SpectroSyn Elite brand, Baytowns output is focused on beefy grades such as 65 and 150 centiStoke, which are in high demand for making automotive and industrial lubricants.