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June 15, 2018

Volume 7 Issue 3

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Lu’an Makes CTL Base Stocks

China’s state-owned Shanxi Lu’an Group is preparing to open a plant in Shanxi province with capacity to make 350,000 metric tons per year of coal-to-liquids base stocks.

“If the testing goes well, we expect to start commercial operation by the end of June,” Liu Junyi, executive director of Lu’an’s Taihang Lube unit, told Lube Report. The testing started in March.

Photo courtesy of AirProducts

China’s state-owned coal miner Shanxi Lu’an Group is preparing to open a coals-to-liquid base stock plant in Shanxi province.

The base stock plant is part of Shanxi Lu'an Coal-based Synthetic Oil Co., a large coal-to-liquids complex in Changzhi city, running on coal feedstock supplied by Lu’an. The base stock plant will have capacity to produce 600,000 t/y of fluids, of which 350,000 t/y will be base stocks, Liu said.

The nature of the base stocks is not completely clear. Lu'an described them as both API Group III+ and as polyalphaolefins, but PAOs are Group IV base stocks that are petrochemicals whereas Group III stocks are mineral oils. CTL technology includes a number of processes that can be used to make Group III oils or PAO.

Lu’an plans to direct most of that output to its lubricant subsidiary, Shanxi Lu'an Taihang Lubricant Co. “We try to use up all of the base oils, but our blending capacity is only 300,000 tons a year,” he said, adding that Lu’An will sell the leftover base oil to other companies.

Lu’an did state that the viscosity grades of the base stocks will be less than 10 centiStokes. Liu added that it is still too early to say if they will be used to produce motor oils or industrial lubricants.

“It all depends on the market demand. We will adjust our product strategy accordingly,” he said.