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April 5, 2019

Volume 7 Issue 3

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Another CTL Base Oil Plant Slated for China

A joint venture between a coal company and a base oil distributor is planning yet another coal-to-liquids base oil plant in China – this one a 200,000 ton per year plant scheduled to open in 2022.

The project, which will operate as G-TiBase Oil Technology, is a joint venture between Inner Mongolia-based Yitai Coal, one of China’s earliest coal enterprises, and base oil distributor Jiyang Petrochemical Group.

According to its website, Yitai has developed indirect coal liquefaction technology and already operates a pilot plant that is serving as a demonstration project. Jiyang Petrochemical Group distributes base oils and manages a 30,000-ton storage facility in Zhuji, China.

G-TiBase Oil would join a growing list of coal-to-liquids base oil suppliers in China. Naco Synthetics and Chinese coal company Lu’an Group opened a polyalphaolefin plant in 2015 that uses coal-to-liquids feedstock, and the Shanxi Lu’an Group opened a CTL plant last year that makes PAO and Group III base stocks.

Coal-to-liquid technology can be enticing to coal-rich countries like China. The term refers to multiple processes that turn coal into liquid fuels, base oil and other liquid products that would usually be made from petroleum. The CTL market is forecast to reach $5.8 billion by 2026, according to Acumen Research and Consulting, a market intelligence provider based in California.

Chinese companies prefer coal-to-liquids technology only when oil prices surge or when coal prices are low. China’s central government has encouraged mega CTL projects as part of its development of a national energy strategy that decreases reliance on imports of petroleum products.