June 29, 2018
Volume 7 Issue 7
ExxonMobil Expanding Again in Singapore
SINGAPORE – ExxonMobil announced Tuesday that it is planning a multi-billion dollar expansion at its Singapore refining complex, which will increase output of API Group II base stocks and clean fuels.
This project would be in addition to the expansion that was started at the same location in 2017 and is scheduled to be commissioned in early 2019, officials said during the ICIS Asia Base Oil & Lubricants Conference being held here this week. The company will make a final investment decision next year on the newly announced project, and startup is anticipated in 2023.
“Our Singapore facility is one of our largest integrated fuels, lubricant base stocks and chemicals production sites in the world,” Bryan Milton, president of ExxonMobil Fuels and Lubricants Co., said in a statement. “This investment would move it to the top quartile worldwide in terms of refining competitiveness and increases the site’s competitive advantage from crude cracking.”
This competitive advantage is to be derived from the development and application of innovative proprietary technologies that will convert lower-value byproducts into cleaner, higher-value products, including high-performance light and heavy lubricant base stocks, Ted Walko, ExxonMobil’s global marketing manager of base stocks and specialties marketing, said on the sidelines of the conference.
“We think we will have a material advantage versus our competition in terms of the cost of producing the base oil, because of the scale of it,” Walko said. “Clearly it will make this facility the largest base oil plant in the world; it will have a tremendous scale.”
“It's coming together nicely – the scale, the cost and the marketing here to really expand our presence in this market.”
Officials said the new base stock facility will introduce a high-viscosity Group II base stock with similar characteristics to bright stock, expanding the Group II slate already being offered in Singapore. After the expansion, the plant will also produce a 120-vis cut, in addition to the 50-vis and 110-vis oils currently being manufactured.
“This high-vis product has superior qualities compared to bright stock, and is expected to be used in new applications and offered globally,” Walko said.
ExxonMobil did not disclose the size of the newly announced base oil expansion. The company currently has two base oil plants in Singapore – a 31,000 b/y Group II plant on Jurong Island and a 13,000 b/d Group I plant on Pulau Ayer Chawan. The company has not disclosed the size of the expansion due onstream next year in Jurong, but Lubes’n’Greases estimates it will be 6,000 b/d.
“Frankly, the number is not final yet, as we continue to work on finalizing the design,” Walko explained. “But we are not spending multi-billion dollars for single digit kbds [thousands of barrels per day].”
The company expects to supply most of the new output to global finished lube marketers and large regional blenders. A portion would be purchased by the company’s own lubricants business.
For feedstock, the new base oil facility will use bottoms from across the integrated complex.
The expansion project will also result in the production of more clean fuels with lower sulfur content complying with the International Maritime Organization’s 0.5 percent sulfur cap.
ExxonMobil said it will continue to produce Group I base stocks at Pulau Ayer Chawan.
Aside from the start-up of the current expansion in Singapore in early 2019, ExxonMobil is nearing building a new Group II plant at Rotterdam refinery. That plant is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.