Calumet Reports Steeply Greater Loss


Calumet Specialty Products Partners L.P. reported a steep deterioration in earnings for the quarter ended March 31, citing a power outage at one of its refineries as a main reason that its net loss for the period swelled nearly 10-fold.

Meanwhile Quaker Chemical posted higher net income, HollyFrontier’s lubricants and specialties segment rebounded with improved income from operations, and sales for Clean Harbors’ Safety-Kleen sustainability solutions segment were flat.

Get alerts when new Sustainability Blog articles are available.



Indianapolis-based Calumet reported a $146 million net loss for the quarter, 936% larger than the $14.4 million net loss it reported for the year-earlier period.

Officials said the business environment for the company is very good but that its refinery in Shreveport, Louisiana, was battered by severe winter weather in February.

“Our first-quarter results reflect lower plant production volumes due to severe winter storms in the Gulf Coast region as well as scheduled maintenance at Shreveport,” CEO Steve Mawer said in the company’s earnings news release. The Shreveport refinery has a base oil plant with 4,800 b/d API Group I, 6,600 b/d Group II, 400 b/d Group I and 100 b/d naphthenic base oils production capacity.

“Our full plant turnaround was on track for successful completion as [winter storm] Uri visited northwest Louisiana, presenting the challenge of a hard freeze on an entirely idled plant,” Mawer said. “Our team worked tirelessly to repair the damage and bring the plant back up safely. Demand for our products remains extremely robust, and our margin performance reflected that.”

The company’s first-quarter net sales dropped 13% to $600.3 million, down from $692.6 million.

Total specialty products and solutions sales were down 47% at 31,360 barrels per day. First-quarter lubricating oils sales volumes declined 28% to 7,400 b/d. Waxes were down 31% at 882 b/d.

Performance brands, now a separate category that includes packaged and synthetic specialty products, increased 10% to 1,547 b/d.

Quaker Chemical

Quaker Chemical – also known as Quaker Houghton – reported $38.6 million in net income for the first quarter, rebounding from a $28.4 million net loss in the same period in 2020.

Net sales rose 14% to $429.8 million, improving from $378.6 million. The industrial lubricants supplier attributed the improved net sales primarily to higher volumes of product sold.

“We had a very strong first quarter as we saw significant sequential and prior year improvement in all our segments and regions,” Quaker Chairman, CEO and President Michael Barry said in the company’s earnings news release. “The volume increases were driven by strong demand in our end markets as well as market share gains. We believe our first-quarter volumes included some higher-than-expected purchases as customers replenished their supply chains, but the amount of these purchases is hard to quantify.”

Barry noted that raw material prices continued to increase in the first quarter. “The magnitude of our raw material cost increases are considerably higher than previously expected due to stress on global supply chains, weather related shutdowns and unexpected supplier shutdowns,” he said.

Quaker Chemical, based in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, completed its merger with Houghton in August 2019, forming the new Quaker Houghton.

Clean Harbors

Clean Harbors’ Safety-Kleen sustainability solutions segment – which includes oil rerefining, waste oil collection and finished lubricants – reported that third party revenues increased 1% to $155.2 million in the first quarter, compared to the same period in 2020.

“Our newly formed [Safety-Kleen sustainability solutions] segment reported flat revenue compared with the prior year as increased base oil pricing, along with higher charge-for-oil rates offset lower volumes sold and waste oil collected,” President and CEO Alan McKim said in the company’s earnings news release. “Profitability and margins in the segment rose due to favorable market conditions that enabled us to widen our rerefining spread.” Waste oil collection declined 14% to 47 million gallons in the quarter. 

The company, based in Norwell, Massachusetts, noted that effective in January this year, it reorganized its Safety-Kleen business with a goal of better positioning its sustainable lubricant and bulk product offerings for growth in the marketplace. The newly formed Safety-Kleen sustainability solutions segment consists of collection services for waste oil, used oil filters, antifreeze and related items, which will all be more tightly managed under a standalone organization, Clean Harbors said in its earnings news release.  “This new organizational structure also will enable us to collect more waste oil, optimize the supply to our rerefineries and grow sales of our sustainable [Safety-Kleen] products and services,” McKim added.


The lubricants and specialty products segment of HollyFrontier Corp. reported that first quarter income from operations jumped 559% to $66.6 million in the first quarter, a huge increase from $10.1 million in 2020’s first quarter and a record earnings quarter for the segment. Revenues from external customers were down slightly at $522 million.

The segment’s strong increase in earnings was driven by strong base oil refining margins in the first quarter, the Dallas-based company said in its earnings news release.

The lubricants and specialty products segment includes Petro-Canada Lubricants and its refinery in Mississauga, Ontario, which makes such products as base oils, white oils, specialty products and finished lubricants, along with specialty lubricants from HollyFrontier’s refineries in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Acquired companies Red Giant Oil Co. and Sonneborn are also part of the company’s lubricants and specialty products segment.