Why Base Oil Dewaxing

Demand for Gp2/Gp3 base oils is anticipated to increase by greater than 30% within 10 years on a global scale. Although there are some regional variabilities, the overall global trend remains steady.

Due to the required amount of refinement and severity of operations, pretreat (hydrotreating/hydrocracking), dewaxing, and hydrofinishing are all required to meet Gp2/Gp3 base oils specifications.

Catalytic dewaxing selectively isomerises and/or cracks straight-chain paraffins. Isomerisation reduces pour point while maintaining molecular weight and boiling range. Therefore, base oils can flow at cold temperatures and not solidify. Cold flow properties such as cloud point, pour point, and CFPP are almost entirely determined by the presence of straight-chain paraffins, or ‘n’-paraffins.

Additives (flow improvers) blended into base oils modify the wax crystallisation process by reducing the crystal size and/or the lattice formation, which significantly reduces pour point and CFPP. However, the cloud point cannot be significantly reduced. Dewaxing is the only effective way to reduce all the cold flow properties and produce high-quality base oils.

Why Shell Catalysts & Technologies

Shell Catalysts & Technologies offers the most advanced solutions for dewaxing. These solutions lie at the heart of base oil production in the world’s largest gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant — the Shell Pearl GTL facility in Qatar.

The gas-to-liquids process creates very pure, unbranched hydrocarbon chains with virtually no aromatic content or unwanted heteroatoms; However, converting these waxes into base oils requires dewaxing. In addition to dewaxing feed from this GTL plant, Shell Catalysts & Technologies’ dewaxing catalysts are in use in other installations around the world to efficiently dewax traditional base oils made from a variety of crude oils.

Base Oil Catalysts

Shell Catalysts & Technologies delivers high yields of enhanced quality base oils by leveraging its versatile catalyst portfolio to process a wide range of feed slates.

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