Lubricating Specialties Co. Jamaica Ltd. plans to expand its Rockfort, Jamaica, facility to add a lubricants blending plant – its second in the Caribbean island country – by the first quarter of 2020, a company official confirmed to Lube Report.
Located near Jamaicas capital city, Kingston, the Rockfort blending plant is expected to have production capacity in the range of 10 million to 15 million gallons per year, LSC Jamaica President and CEO Sydney Thwaites said. The capacity will depend on the package style. “A lot of it for that market is in drums and [flexitanks], so it lends itself to a higher capacity number,” Thwaites told Lube Report.
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The project has an estimated price tag of U.S. $5 million, Thwaites said, with construction expected to start in the third quarter this year and completion targeted for 2020’s first quarter. “Some of that is dependent on our customers, and that’s our target,” he said. “Now that all the approvals are in place, that’s another hurdle down to reach that timing.”
Thwaites explained that although LSC Jamaica leases and operates the former Shell Rockfort lubricants facility – which had about 1.2 million gallons of storage capacity – the company has used it to this point only as a storage terminal. The facility has 23 tanks, including six steel tanks for storing base stocks and another 17 horizontal tanks for storing lubricant additives. Jamaica’s National Environment and Planning Agency has granted permission for an additional 22 tanks.
Thwaites noted the Rockfort site served as a lubricant blending facility for Shell a number of years ago and that the site is on the waterfront with access to a dock. “We currently use it to land and store our base oils and as a warehousing site,” he said. “Right now, blending happens at our other facility in country, which is not on the water. Its a smaller facility inland, that’s where we’re blending right now.”
LSC Jamaica’s May Pen plant started operating in March 2015, producing automotive and industrial lubricants, including products under license from Top 1 Oil Products Co. Thwaites said the company will definitely continue to operate the May Pen plant. “It’s ideally located for a lot of our industrial customers, in the industrial hub of the island,” he explained. “The new facility in Rockfort will be ideal for our export customers. It’ll add to our flexibility and security of supply.”
The company now employs 40 workers, he said, and could have as many as 75 once the new Rockfort plant is up and running.
The economy in Jamaica is generally doing well, according to Thwaites. Industrial commercial activity is up, he said. “Many multinational lubricant brands are looking to manufacture locally to avoid import duties. It brings some good value to our customers, and obviously the fact were exporting to the rest of the region is helpful for the local economy as well,” Thwaites said.
“We’re not a brand marketer, so were only in support of other brands,” he noted. This includes multinational companies and some independent branded customers as well.
Tampa, Florida-based lubricant blender Amalie Oil recently completed its acquisition of the U.S. assets of LSC, which had three production facilities in California. LSC Jamaica was a spinoff business that now operates independently, with Thwaites as its president and CEO.
Elsewhere in Jamaica, Allegheny Petroleum and its distributor partner Paramount Trading Jamaica Ltd. together built a 7,500 metric tons per year lubricants blending plant in Kingston that opened in 2017.