CLUB OF CAR FANS
MOBILE: FOR THOSE WHO MOVE
Today, like a hundred years ago, the Rockefeller oil empire supplies its branded Mobil oils to Russia.
Well-known automobile oils in our country, Mobil is produced by the giant corporation of the same name, which arose in the middle of the 19th century. Its creator was the same John Rockefeller, about which many of us first heard in school history lessons in combination with the epithet "shark of capitalism".
Until 1966, the company was called Standard Oil Company of New York (SOCONY). Now she owns thousands of oil wells and platforms around the world, oil refineries and chemical plants in more than 100 countries, energy complexes, a huge marine fleet, not to mention tens of thousands of gas stations on all continents. Mobile Corporation makes fuel, oil and lubricants, power plant equipment, plastics, building materials and much more. Now it is in the process of merging with another offspring of Rockefeller, the larger Exxon company, and after a divorce that has lasted 90 years, the world's richest industrial empire with a turnover of about $ 150 billion will be revived.
We have enough of our own gasoline, but oil, especially synthetic, has to be imported so far, especially since there is more confidence in imported, from a reputable manufacturer. More than once, the magazine’s correspondents visited foreign factories, convinced of the high production culture and strict quality control of the oils they produce. But most enterprises only mix ready-made components and pack oil in cans - it’s easier to bring goods closer to sales markets, reducing customs and transportation costs. In addition, production can be organized almost in the resort area - in terms of area and environmental cleanliness, it is comparable to a proprietary refueling and service station.
The “Mobil” mixing plants only in Europe have two dozen, the closest - in Finland, usually from there oil comes to us. Nevertheless, it is much more interesting to visit the place where the company makes the base of oils. One of Mobila’s largest refineries is near the town of Gravenson in northern France.
… The highway goes around rocky spurs and in the expanses of the picturesque floodplain of the Seine an industrial landscape appears: distillation columns entangled in pipelines soared into the sky, cylindrical oil storage tanks go in orderly rows to the horizon.
"Black Gold" comes by tankers from the Persian Gulf to the English Channel terminal and then flows through pipes here to Gravenson. The oil is filtered, heated to 350 ° C and dispersed into fractions - this is the simplest form of processing. It is presented here in the figures.
The obtained distillates need to be purified, since they are mixtures of hydrocarbons, both useful and degrading the properties of oils. The first include paraffins and naphthenes. Petrochemists seek to reduce the content of others in base oils at all costs. Indeed, for example, aromatic hydrocarbons (arenas) contribute to the rapid oxidation and aging of oil in the engine, and often also toxic. Furfural, a selective solvent of plant origin, circulating in an extraction unit in a vicious circle, helps to remove them from the oil.
The next stage of cleaning, mandatory at the Mobil plants, is dewaxing, that is, the removal of heavy paraffins from the oil, which harden even in light frost. The oils are diluted with a solvent, the mixture is strongly cooled and driven by inertia filters and centrifuges, where solid paraffin is separated and then molded into briquettes. And at the end, the final product is obtained - the base mineral oil of a certain viscosity. It is transported from Gravenson throughout Europe, and not only to its own mixing plants - many “oil” companies that do not have their own oil refineries buy basic components from giants such as Mobile.
A more expensive and effective technology used by Mobil to produce high-quality oils is catalytic hydrocracking. Vacuum distillate after conventional treatment with furfural enters the reactor, where large hydrocarbon molecules decompose into small ones with the formation of useful isoparaffins. The process proceeds in the presence of hydrogen under pressure up to 200 atm and temperature up to 450 ° С. At the same time, hydrogen saturates the benzene rings, turning the arenes into oxidation-resistant naphthenes, and also removes harmful sulfur and nitrogen. The result is a finished base oil that does not require dewaxing. The only drawback of hydrocracking is the decrease in viscosity of the starting distillate. In order not to introduce large doses of thickeners into the oil, which impair its motor qualities, these bases are used for not too thick varieties. By the way, Mobil honestly calls such oils mineral, emphasizing that hydrocracking, no matter how deep the chemical transformations of hydrocarbons it causes, is not a synthesis.
And the real "synthetics" are made here. Pride of Gravenson is the largest polyalphaolefin (PAO) plant in Europe, covering 70% of the local market. For its own oils, Mobil leaves less than half of the total production of PAO - most of it is bought up by competitors with pleasure.
PAO is the most common base for synthetic oils. The feedstock for their production is affordable and cheap ethylene gas. This is the simplest representative of olefins, obtained in large quantities during the coking of coal and pyrolysis of oil. At the enterprises of chemical synthesis, ethylene molecules are linked to each other: if there are thousands of links in the chain, plastic is polyethylene, and if only ten are semi-finished products for the production of PAO, decen-1. At the Gravenshon plant it is polymerized with hydrogen, while the double bonds between carbon atoms are disconnected, transferring bridges to neighboring molecules - trimers, tetramers, etc. are formed (see. Fig.).
There is also a huge mixing industry for the local market, and the most expensive synthetic oil, “Mobil 1”, class 0W40, is made only in Gravenson, from where it comes to Russia. And, of course, the quality control of all products, both semi-finished products and finished oils, is at the highest level at Mobil - this is the responsibility of the laboratory research center. Well, and the main "brains" of the corporation, creating new components of oils, are located in Paulsboro (USA) - closer to Uncle Rocky …
Some popular in Russia
Mobil motor oil varieties
SUPER M class 15W40 - an inexpensive mineral water of selective cleaning. The price is about 100 rubles. for 1 liter
SUPER S class 10W40 is an improved mineral based on up to 15% of hydrocracking products. The price is about 150 rubles. for 1 liter