Jun 02 2010
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Two base oil plants to open in 2011
Shell's Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) project in Qatar, which is set to start early next year, will have a production capacity of 30,000 barrels a day of high-quality, so-called Group 3 base oils. Besides Shell, Finnish refiner Neste Oil is also due to complete a Group 3 base oils plant in Bahrain next year with a production capacity of 400,000 tonnes, or about three million barrels a year. Both companies will be able to take advantage of the GCC's geographical position as a swing supplier between the developed and fast-developing markets.
Base oils are used for making lubricants. The base oils fall into four groups, and each group is identified by numbers ranging from one to four, such that each group is distinct by its viscosity. The Group 3 base oils have an API gravity ranging in between 39.8 and 37.2 which suggests that they have a very low sulphur content.
"That will make the GCC one of the world's largest producers of the feedstock used to make engine oils that increasingly form a key part of vehicle makers' measures to boost fuel efficiency and reduce the environmental and health impact of car emissions."
Most of the Group 3 base oils produced in countries Qatar and Bahrain will head to Europe and China; earlier it was the Asia-Pacific that met demand in these lucrative markets. European motor fuel specifications are already among the tightest in the world.
By Shashank Shekhar
© Emirates Business 24/7 2010
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