Venezuela Eyes Group II

State-run Petrleo de Venezuela S.A. announced it will produce 6,500 barrels per day of API Group II base oil at its Amuay refinery with an estimated 2019 startup date, using technologies licensed from Chevron Lummus Global.

CLG did not provide capital for the project, but will license its proprietary Isodewaxing and Isofinishing technologies, which it will help PdVSA implement as a crucial element of Group II production.

The Amuay refinery currently produces 1,250 b/d of Group I oil. Amuay is one part of the Paraguana Refining Center complex in the state of Falcn, which includes the Cardon refinery, PdVSAs 4,800 b/d Group I base oil plant.

No base oil refineries in Venezuela currently produce Group II, and the amount PdVSA estimates it will produce – roughly 350,000 metric tons per year – far exceeds the countrys demand, Stephen B. Ames of SBA Consulting, LLC, told Lube Report.

There is certainly a need for Group II in Venezuela, but they could get it from a number of sources today, including the North American suppliers as well as Chevrons Pascagoula plant that starts up later this year, Ames said. The timeframe that PdVSA has estimated for start-up – around 2019 – will coincidentally be around the same time that the lease for the Refineria Isla expires. Many speculate the Dutch government will not renew the lease, which would otherwise result in PdVSAs diminished base oil capacity.

Refineria Isla is a base oil plant with 5,000 b/d Group I and 3,700 b/d naphthenic base oil capacity in Curacao,Netherlands Antilles, off the coast of Venezuela. PdVSA leases the property from the Dutch.

Kline and Co.s study, Global Lubricant Basestocks 2009-2011, projected Group II demand would grow first by replacing Group I in automotive applications in South America and other parts of the world, and then by displacing Group I in select industrial applications.

Lube Report was not able to reach PdVSA by time of production.