At present, the foreign lubricating base oil production process is also the traditional solvent refining and hydrogenation process combined stage. With the gradual upgrading of internal combustion engine oil, the hydrogenation process has a promising future. According to Chevron Company, in the past 10 years, 1.20Mt/a base oil equipment produced by solvent method has been shut down in the United States. For 49% of the output, the production capacity of base oils in the Asia-Pacific region is also increasing. It is estimated that by 2002, base oils produced with hydroisomerization technology will account for 25% and 30% of the total base oils.
In recent years, China National Petroleum Corporation has introduced technologies from IFP and Chevron, and built production facilities in Lanzhou and Daqing. The Research Institute of Petrochemical Sciences has also developed a combined solvent refining-hydrotreating-solvent dewaxing technology (RLT). Statistics show that the total capacity of the hydrogenation processes that have been built and planned has reached 1.70Mt/a. If these devices are put into operation before 2005, China will have the capacity to produce about 1.00Mt of hydrogenated lubricant base oil per year.
It is feasible to partially replace the solvent refining process with the hydrogenation process in several Chinese enterprises that focus on the production of lubricating oil but the crude oil resource conditions are not good. In order to take into account the production of paraffin wax, most of the solvent refining and solvent dewaxing processes should still be retained to meet the market’s demand for mid-range lubricants and industrial lubricants and paraffin waxes.
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