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Capacity increases may see China producing nearly 40 percent of the worlds naphthenic base oils within the next two years and potentially leapfrogging from net importer last year to net exporter next, according to an industry insider.
With Chinas passenger car parc set to continue revving through the next five years, experts at an industry event last month said that diversified routes to market, strong brand reputation and improving formulations are keys for market share growth.
Half of the worlds base oil production units are within hot spots that for various reasons are susceptible to a level of conflict or instability that could cause supply disruptions with global implications similar to those in 2017, an expert warned at an industry event here last month.
Lubricant demand has been essentially flat over the past 25 years, yet millions of tons of new annual base oil capacity has come to market since the year 2000. The rate of additions has far out-paced plant closings, creating surpluses that have ramped up competition and put some base oil suppliers in a precarious position, an analyst explained at an industry event in London.
Chinas base oil consumption will grow marginally but steadily in the next five years, according to a speaker from ICIS at the organizations World Base Oils & Lubricants Conference in London last week. In 2021, API Group II and III grades will have elbowed out Group I and off-spec oils more than ever as total demand inches closer to 9 million metric tons.
Up to 30 percent of passenger car motor oils supplied in China in 2022 may reach drivers through the countrys unique routes to market, according to a recent Kline & Co. report.
Two consultancies recently presented a wealth of evidence forecasting that continued growth in demand and revenue from marine lubricants is on the horizon and suggesting that suppliers may increasingly want to set sails toward the East.
China produces almost as much grease as North America and Europe combined, and the rest of Asia collectively churns out more than each of those Western regions, according to this years production report from the National Lubricating Grease Institute. Lithium soaps reign as the most prominent thickener type around the world.