Russian Blender to Expand

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Russian independent lube maker Nordoil plans to expand its lubricant production site near Moscow to help fill the supply shortage caused by the exodus of foreign lubricant companies from Russia amid the country’s war against Ukraine.

Konstantin Lyutikov, Nordoil’s deputy general director, told Lube Report on Monday that the company’s 18,000 square feet of warehouse, loading zone and production facilities “is simply not enough when distributors’ shelves are getting empty.”

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The company’s lubricant production site is based in Taldom, a town located northwest of Moscow. Its current capacity is 18,000 metric tons per year, but the company plans to double it in a near term by investing U.S $252,000.

Lyutkov confirmed that the government of Moscow region granted the company a 2.7-hectare (6.7 acres) land plot. According to a local government representative, the plot was given to the company for a symbolic rent of 1 ruble, Vedomosti newspaper reported recently.

The site’s size is considered ideal for the company’s planned expansion. “We are able to double our current production capacity,” he said.

He said that the company operated as a toll blender since 2006 for at least three western lubricant producers.

In 2016 the company created its own brand – Nord. After the recent political developments, it decided to jump on the bandwagon to fill the lubricant supply gap, like many other Russian companies that try to use the opportunity to fill the market gaps left after the western brands’ withdrawal from Russia.

For all of them, the buzz phrase again is “import substitution.” Which means continuation of the government sponsored policy that begun almost a decade ago in a bid to keep the sanctions-battered Russian economy afloat by reviving domestic production.

Nordoil said that it primarily uses Russian base oils, and that it buys lubricant additives from China “that use different technologies” compared to those used in Western lubricant additive products.

According to its Russian language website, “the company has an extensive structural technical database of domestic oils made in accordance with imported oils.” On its website it also offers what appears to be Chinese additive products, such as thickening agents and antioxidants, as well as additive packages.

Nordoil produces a line of 5W and 10W motor oils that it categorizes under API SG, CD, SN, CF, SM and SL categories, some of them claiming Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai-Kia, Renault and GM Dexos 2 approvals. It also produces heavy-duty motor oils, transmission and gear oils, hydraulic and compressor oils, and metalworking fluids, as well as lubricants formulated to meet the Soviet and Russian Gost specifications.

The company sells its products through three distribution centers in Moscow, and also offers them on Russian online marketplaces.