INEOS Oligomers said it plans to build a new world-scale high viscosity polyalphaolefin (PAO) unit at its existing PAO facility in La Porte, Texas, U.S.A. The new unit will initially have a nameplate capacity of 20,000 metric tons per annum, with room for debottlenecking, in anticipation of future sales growth. The targeted start-up of the unit will be late 2016, according to Karel Brabant, INEOS Oligomers operations director.
“The new unit will utilize our successful metallocene high viscosity PAO technology that was first developed on a pilot scale and then optimized on a semi-works unit,” said Project Manager Pete DiGiacinto. “The unit represents the culmination of a great collaborative effort between our technology, operations and market development teams to commercialize an R&D concept in record time. We had already expanded our initial supply capability by 50% to keep pace with demand. Therefore, it was the right time to transition into a full scale unit,” he said.
According to Joe Walton, business director, the new unit will cement INEOS’ position as a major producer of high viscosity PAO, complementing its global leadership in low viscosity PAOs.
“We began supplying the market with these new high performance products three years ago. Our market entry was primarily at the urging of existing PAO customers who were experiencing supply issues for high viscosity grades,” Walton said.
Compared to conventional PAO, he said INEOS’ decene-based metallocene products have a number of superior attributes such as higher viscosity indexes, lower pour points and lower Brookfield viscosities.
“This new unit represents another building block in our long term ‘organic’ growth strategy to significantly expand the size and scope of our division,” said Bob Learman, INEOS Oligomers CEO. “We continue to enjoy the support of our INEOS Group Chairman Jim Ratcliffe, who views these investment plans as a key component of the company’s vision for growth in North America,” he said.