Idemitsu Starts China Blending Plant

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Idemitsu Kosan Co. opened its second wholly owned lubricant blending plant in China last week, a facility in the southern coastal city of Huizhou with capacity to produce 108,000 metric tons per year.

The Japanese company said it built the new plant to allow for sales expansion in China and to give it better geographic coverage of the market. Idemitsu also has a wholly owned plant of the same size in Tianjin, in North China, and a 45,000 t/y plant in East China’s Changzhou.

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“Through the operation of these three plants, Idemitsu will work on the establishment of a stable supply structure and the optimization of supply for the whole of China,” the company stated in an Aug. 14 press release, adding that it aims to expand sales in China as part of a strategy of becoming a more global player.

China is one of the world’s two largest lubricant markets, along with the United States, and Idemitsu said it sees rising demand in China for high quality lubes.

Idemitsu, which is the second-largest lubricant supplier in Japan, expanded its presence there by merging with Showa Shell in 2019, but it reached an agreement this month to sell the Shell-branded business back to Shell. Meanwhile the company has been expanding overseas, building new plants and establishing joint ventures and sales offices in recent years in countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.