Royal Dutch Shell’s subsidiary in Russia sold 6% less lubricants in the country in 2020 due to the negative effects of the pandemic and extended periods of stay-at-home orders, according to comments published recently in an industry magazine.
In 2020, the company also sold 6% less fuels than in 2019.
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“In my opinion, we have seen the light at the end of the tunnel, at least in the lubricant part of our business,” Shell Neft General Director Sergey Starodubtsev said in an article in Russian magazine Oil and Capital. “This year, we are experiencing growing demand and expect a growth of [lubricant] sales of up to 18%, compared to 2020.”
He added that the Russian lubricant market, which consumed about 1.5 million metric tons last year, is rebounding from the slump very fast.
Shell declined to respond to questions from Lubes’n’Greases, but cited estimates by analytical firms GFK and Millward Brown that Shell holds approximately 15% of Russia’s lube market.
Shell operates a 180,000-tons-per-year blending plant in Torzhok and intends to increase the production capacity to 270,000 t/y by 2023. The products manufactured there are primarily intended for the Russian market. The plant, operated by a workforce of 150, supplies 80% of Shell’s lubricants sold in Russia and some neighboring markets.
Torzhok is Shell’s second-largest lubricants production site after the plant in Hamburg, Germany, which has the capacity to produce 540,000 tons of finished products annually. The company operates seven more lubricant blending plants around the world. The plant in Russia produces a full range of automotive and industrial lubricants. In the automotive segment, Torzhok produces passenger and commercial vehicle lubricants sold under the Helix and Rimula brands. With the expansion of the plant, the company is expecting to expand the catalog of its lubricants produced by 30%.