Chevron Lubricants last Tuesday announced that it will be adding an additional storage facility for Group II base oil in Eastham, England. This is Chevrons third Group II supply hub in Europe in addition to storage facilities in Antwerp, Belgium and Hamburg, Germany. A complete product line will be inventoried at the facility, including Group II grades, 100R, 220R, 600R and Group II+, 110RLV.
According to Chevron, its growing Group II base oil presence in Europe will give lubricant marketers more formulating flexibility in meeting tightening specifications for better fuel economy and reduced tailpipe emissions. Historically European lubricants have been formulated with some combination of Group I and Group III base oils plus additives that were readily available in the European market.
"Performance specifications are tightening in Europe to the point that Group II quality base oil will advantage many formulations, said Cary Knuth, General Manager, Base Oils, Chevron Lubricants. This new supply hub highlights Chevrons commitment to providing reliable supply to European lubricant producers as they transition to new formulations."
The latest specifications call for formulations that have low to medium amounts of Sulphated Ash, Phosphorus and Sulphur (SAPS). Meeting those specifications has lead to a base oil supply gap for producers of 10W-XX and 15W-XX multigrade lubricants, which account for more than 85% of the Heavy-Duty Motor Oil (HDMO) market in Europe. Group III alone has insufficient viscometrics to meet the performance requirements for heavier motor oil grades and Group I has too much sulphur for the new specifications. Heavy-duty engines require lubricants that provide sufficient high temperature/high shear (HTHS) characteristics to ensure adequate wear protection and maximize engine durability. Blending with Group II base oil, whose primary difference from Group III is higher viscosity, is the proven way, states Chevron, to deliver adequate engine protection while meeting Medium and Low SAPS specifications.
Chevrons growing network of hubs in Europe will be supplied with base oil from Chevrons new state of the art base oil plant that is nearing completion in Pascagoula, Mississippi. When it starts-up, it will be one of the largest base oil plants in the world and is expected to produce 25 kBD (1250 kMT) of premium Group II base oil. It is the third plant where Chevron premium base oils are produced for the companys global supply chain. With the addition of the Pascagoula barrels, Chevron will become the world's largest producer of premium base oil and the only Group II producer with multiple plants producing fungible base oils.