Sri Lankas Lube Consumption Grows


Sri Lankas annual demand for finished lubricants grew 6.8 percent in 2015 to almost 58 million liters, accounting for sales revenue of around 23.5 million Lanka rupees (U.S. $161,000).

Chevron Ceylon Ltd. held the lions share of the market, accounting for 48 percent of all sales, or 28 million tons, according to a report released last week by the lube markets new regulator, Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka.

Indian Oil Corp. came in at a distant second, supplying just shy of 15 percent of demand, and Ceylon Petroleum Corp. held approximately 9 percent. The other 10 companies licensed to sell lubricants in the island nation made up less than 5 percent each.

Automotive lube volume increased 10 percent over 2014 to account for 74 percent of total demand. Of the approximately 44 million tons of motor oils sold, monograde diesel engine oils were demanded the most, at 36 percent, over multigrade diesel oils, which made up 16 percent of the automotive category. Surprisingly, multigrade oil consumption in the diesel engine oil segment showed a decline of 11 percent compared to the previous year, the report said. Appears as the diesel lubricant consumers are switching from multigrade to monograde.

The second-strongest segment of the auto lubes market was four-stroke motorcycle oil – which increased 29 percent year over year to make up 20 percent of that market. Gasoline engine oils increased by just under 15 percent, while diesel oils grew only 2 percent. This is undoubtedly due to the large increase in imports of motorcycles and gasoline-driven cars during 2015. Gear oil consumption grew by 12.5 percent, but automatic transmission fluid demand only expanded 3 percent, which PUCSL noted as being relatively low compared to the increase in gasoline engine oils. Multigrade oils dominated the gasoline category at 90 percent. Synthetics remained nearly nonexistent at 1.1 percent of the total market.

Demand for industrial lubricants – excluding marine oils – grew 7.7 percent annually to around 10 million liters and 18.5 percent of all lubes volume. Greases grew by 4.7 percent, and marine oil demand shrank by 38 percent.

A total of approximately 35.6 million tons of base oils and 3.5 million liters of additives were imported by the only three companies permitted to blend lubricants – Chevron, IOC and Laugfs Ltd. Chevron blended around 75 percent of local production; IOC 20 percent; Laugfs made up the remaining 5 percent. Almost a fourth of finished lube demand was supplied by imports.

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