Infineum to Expand China Additive Plant

Infineumhas signed a letter of intent to add a second phase to its lubricant additive plant in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu province, China, expanding a facility that first began production in 2016.

When originally opened, the facility had capacity to make 100,000 metric tons per year of additive packages. The company did not disclose the amount of new capacity that the expansion will add but did say in a Jan. 13 press release that it will be a multi-million dollar investment that will cover an area of more than 130,000 square meters. It is Infineums first wholly owned blending plant in China.

The facility blends chemical additive components and diluent base oil to make lube additive packages. Lubricant producers blend these packages with base oils to make finished lubricants.

The Zhangjiagang plant is part of Infineums push to expand its presence in the Asia-Pacific region. The company also produces additives in China through a 50-50 joint venture with Sinopec, Shanghai High-lube Additives Co. The joint venture owns a 40,000 t/y plant in Shanghai that produces additives primarily for engine oils.

China was the worlds second-largest lubricant market in 2018, according to a recent study by consultancy Kline & Co., though it is forecast to slightly shrink for the next few years. Lube additives production in the country ranges from 350,000 t/y to 420,000 t/y.

Though growth was hampered in 2019, China is by far the worlds largest automobile market, presenting plenty of opportunities for the lubricants industry. The quality for automotive lubes used in the country is also rising, partly in tandem with rising vehicular emissions standards and fuel standards.

Infineum completed an expansion to its additives production facility in Singapore in 2014, and established a research and development center in Shanghai soon after.

In 2017, the company established a subsidiary in India, the worlds third-largest lubricants market, called Infineum India Additives Private Ltd.

This important expansion of our manufacturing capabilities here in Zhangjiagang will support the growing demand of ever more complex products for our customers in China and the wider Asia-Pacific region, Infineum CEO Trevor Russell said in the Jan. 13 press release.

“We are excited about this significant milestone in our China business expansion, said Mike Chen, president of Infineum China. Through close ongoing collaboration, we remain committed to furthering the sustainable development of China’s transportation industry and serving the market with high-quality, high-value products and technologies.”

Milton Hill, United Kingdom-based Infineum is one of the four largest lubricant additives suppliers globally. It also has manufacturing sites in the United States, France, Germany, Italy and Brazil.