Petroleum products supplier Trafigura acquired the plant last June as part of a larger transaction with Argentinian energy company Pampa Energia and, according to Puma officials, is scheduled to begin blending Puma-branded lubes at the end of July.
The plant currently produces 13,500 metric tons of finished lubes per year, but Puma and Trafigura plan to increase that amount under an agreement to jointly market in Argentina.
The current production represents five percent of the Argentinian market, Puma Argentina General Manager Martin Biercamp said during a phone interview Tuesday. “But that is only one-third of the plants capacity, and we [Puma] plan to acquire a 15 percent market share by 2021.”
Biercamp said Pampa is still operating the blending plant but that Trafigura will take over management on July 27. Petrobras’ contract to have its Lubrax-branded lubricants manufactured there will expire on the same date, he added.
Petrobras declined to say if it will continue to market lubricants in Argentina or if it has found another plant in the country to make its products.
Puma, which is headquartered in Singapore, is a $17.9 billion fuels supplier that has worked the past few years to expand in lubricants. Biercamp said its Argentina branch plans to grow beyond Petrobras local sales by introducing more products – for example, API CI-4 Plus heavy-duty diesel engine oils and API SN light-duty engine oils – and by stepping up marketing efforts.
Petrobras previously claimed 10 percent of the Argentina market, Biercamp said, but its sales there decreased the past few years.
The Avellaneda plant also contract blends lubricants for Honda, Biercamp said, but those volumes are much smaller than the volumes for Puma. Argentina has eight significantly sized blending plants, including Trafigura’s facility in Avellaneda, he added.