Lube Additives Gain Value

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Lubricant additive volume demand in the United States declined 0.3 percent between 2016 and 2017 to 2.1 billion pounds, according to the American Chemistry Councils Specialty Chemicals Report released last month.

Viscosity index modifiers are the largest category of additives in terms of volume, followed by dispersants, detergents and antiwear agents. The leading lubricant additive companies in the U.S. are, in no particular order, Afton Chemical, Chevron Oronite, Infineum and Lubrizol. The council declined to give specific demand figures for additive categories and specific companies.

Despite the decrease in volume, the value of the market has gone up. In 2006 the market was valued at $2.2 billion, but by 2016 that number had grown to $3.6 billion.

Looking at 2016, the per pound value was $1.77. It was only 93 per pound in 2006, noted Kevin Swift, chief economist, in an interview.

As higher quality lubricant additives reach the market, demand tends to shrink as product value grows, which is a trend Swift expects will continue. The latest generation seems to be more efficient and effective, said Swift.

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