Demonstrating Resiliency in Base Stock Supply for the Lubricants Market in 2023
As an ExxonMobil veteran of roughly 35 years, I have navigated numerous business cycles and seen my fair share of challenges. For the last decade, I have managed portfolios across different business lines for ExxonMobil, mainly within the lubricants value chain, culminating in my current role as Global Basestocks & Waxes Sales Director. While I often feel like I have seen it all, each year presents unique challenges that keep us on our toes. And that was certainly the case in 2023.
The past few years have been hard on businesses and people around the globe, and ExxonMobil Basestocks is no exception. From the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting supply chain disruptions, to ongoing geopolitical upheaval, various events have impacted nearly every facet of our business. Yet, despite these adverse circumstances, the Basestocks team and our dedicated partners have remained committed to delivering a reliable supply of high-quality products to our valued customers.
While more facilities were coming back online post-pandemic and supplies were generally stabilizing, things were far from “business as usual.” For instance, both planned and unplanned maintenance events across the industry impacted supply and demand. Fortunately, at ExxonMobil Basestocks, our global positioning provided us with unique insight into these events, allowing us to better anticipate and manage their repercussions. As a result, we were able to ensure our customers an uninterrupted supply of quality base stocks in 2023.
Hitting new heights in 2023 with major milestones and events
During this year, we made significant progress on our Singapore Resid Upgrade Project, a multi-billion-dollar, large-scale expansion at our existing chemical and refining complex in the Asia-Pacific region. A major milestone was achieved when all the project’s reactors were safety erected, which was particularly impressive given that the tallest reactor is more than 52 meters in height and weighs more than 1,300 tons. We continue to remain on schedule for our anticipated 2025 start-up of the facility, which will increase production capacity of high-performance base stocks by an additional 20,000 barrels per day.
We also participated in the most important industry events this past year, including Chris Braggs, Sales Manager for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, delivering a keynote speech at the Argus Base Oils Conference in London. He highlighted how ExxonMobil Basestocks is determined to help our base oils and lubricants customers succeed in what is sometimes a challenging industry environment. Just last month, Kenneth Lee, the ExxonMobil Basestocks Director of Sales for North America, discussed raw materials supply at the 17th Pan American Base Oils and Lubricants Conference in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Preparing for another successful year in 2024
Looking ahead, 2024 will be a massive year for us. We continue to prepare for the launch of our new extra-heavy neutral base stock EHC 340 MAX™ in 2025, and there is still a lot to be done. Most of the heavy lifting will take place next year as we prepare for the startup of the Singapore Resid Upgrade Project. Our focus will be on ensuring our core business runs smoothly while also preparing for any unexpected challenges. We will work tirelessly to ensure that all necessary resources are in place at the right time, and we will need everyone’s support to make it happen.
While there will undoubtfully be many challenges, I am confident the ExxonMobil Basestocks team will rise to the occasion. My colleagues and our partners have proven time and again just how resilient they are time and again, and I have never been prouder to be a member of the team than I am today. We will continue to keep our valued customers informed on all development through our website, our LinkedIn page and our Taking Stock newsletter.
In the meantime, though, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and new year. We look forward to resuming business in 2024! Best wishes from all of us at ExxonMobil Basestocks.