ExxonMobil’s Pascal de Bast Thiers: EHC 340 MAX™ Insider
In 2019, we announced a multi-billion-dollar investment in a large-scale expansion project at our integrated manufacturing complex in Jurong, Singapore. In addition to increasing base stocks production capacity by an additional 20,000 barrels per day, the Singapore Resid Upgrade Project will introduce a new Group II extra heavy neutral base stock to the international market.
EHC 340 MAX™ will be distributed through our international network of supply hubs to customers around the world. Basing the production in Singapore will help address growing demand for high-performance base stocks in the Asian-Pacific region and allow for increased supply chain consistency and flexibility worldwide.
Hear from one of our own, Pascal de Bast Thiers, as he shares his perspective on the impact that EHC 340 MAX™ could have on the lubricant base stocks industry.
What is your professional background and current role at ExxonMobil?
I’ve spent 29 years with ExxonMobil, working throughout various functions in the Downstream and Chemical companies. I worked in Basestocks for the first time about 20 years ago. Later, I worked in Finished Lubricants in a sales role in France and then as the regional supply manager. I moved away from Basestocks for a few years, then came back as the business venture manager for the Rotterdam project. After that, I was put in charge of sales for Basestocks in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and now I’m the business readiness manager for the Singapore Resid Upgrade Project.
What does your position entail?
What the role entails is essentially two-fold. One part of it has to do with market planning for the products we'll be producing at the Singapore plant. On the base stocks side, that includes EHC™ 50, EHC™ 120 and EHC 340 MAX™. On the fuel side, that includes ultra-low-sulfur diesel. The other aspect of my role is site planning, so molecule management for the site’s startup and defining how we will run the plant as an integrated complex.
What makes EHC 340 MAX™ such an important — and innovative — product?
EHC 340 MAX™ is very innovative in that it’s a Group II product that has the viscosity metrics of a Group I bright stock. There’s currently no industrial or world-scale facility today that can produce that type of extra heavy neutral base stock. Group I plants have been rationalizing recently, and this trend may continue. With that in mind, EHC 340 MAX™ will help ensure supply continuity and reliability of these extra heavy molecules.
Why did ExxonMobil choose Singapore as its EHC 340 MAX™ hub?
From a plant consideration standpoint, the existing facility has the right mix of assets and product streams for us to produce EHC 340 MAX™ in an effective way. With our investment, the Singapore site will stay competitive while providing society with the products it needs. This is a long-term, open-ended commitment to the product, ExxonMobil’s facility and Singapore — as well as to the lubricant base stocks industry.
What’s the reaction been from those who have toured the upgraded facility?
Customers are excited because this is a brand-new facility and we’re introducing our EHC™ 120 base stock to the Asian market, which brings some nice quality advantages compared to our existing offer. Customers are also really excited about EHC 340 MAX™. They see that we're making something new and they see the people behind the project itself. It's a human adventure, not just an industrial one. Even though we’re in the middle of construction, the project is already having an impact.