ExxonMobil enhances AP base stock capacity with EHC™ 120 launch
In a strategic move to bolster its base stock production, ExxonMobil announced a multi-billion-dollar expansion at its integrated manufacturing complex in Jurong, Singapore, in 2019. This ambitious project, aimed at increasing high-performance base stock production by 20,000 barrels per day, represents a significant leap in meeting the growing demands of the Asia-Pacific market.
Originally scheduled for an earlier completion, the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a revised timeline, with the project now expected to be operational by 2025. Despite these challenges, ExxonMobil has achieved a crucial milestone with the successful erection of all project reactors on-site. These high-pressure reactors, essential for the chemical conversion processes in producing EHC™ base stocks, are monumental in scale. The tallest among them stands over 52 metres high, equivalent to an 18-story building, and weighs more than 1,300 tons.
This expansion is not just about increasing production capacity; it’s a strategic enhancement of ExxonMobil’s base stock product portfolio. It will boost the availability of Group II base stocks in the Asia market, particularly the EHC™ 50 base stock. More notably, it will introduce the heavy neutral EHC™ 120 base stock to the region, a significant addition to ExxonMobil’s global offerings.
“We’re leveraging the integrated nature of our Singapore complex,” said Pascal de Bast Thiers, project manager for ExxonMobil Basestocks Business. “The existing facility’s infrastructure and product streams are ideally suited for EHC base stock production.”
The Singapore facility’s upgrade incorporates proprietary technologies in preparation for the launch of the new extra heavy neutral base stock, EHC 340 MAX™. This product, set to be distributed globally, is designed to meet the burgeoning demand in the Asia-Pacific region and enhance supply chain consistency and flexibility worldwide.
“EHC 340 MAX is a Group II product, comparable in viscosity to Group I bright stock but with superior performance in several key aspects,” said de Bast Thiers. “Currently, no industrial or world-scale facility can produce this type of extra heavy neutral base stock.”
While commercial availability of EHC 340 MAX is slated for 2025, select customers have already begun testing samples.
With all reactors now in place, the Singapore team is focused on completing additional tasks essential for the 2025 start-up.
This year’s agenda includes completing other heavy lifts, setting pre-assembled racks, and bringing all base stock storage tanks to full height. With the infrastructure set, ExxonMobil is poised to begin early systems completion, unit readiness, and quality assurance processes.
The installation of these massive reactors was a feat in itself, requiring a large mobile gantry crane, the first of its size ever used in Singapore.