Greece Lube Demand Rose in 2021

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Greece Lube Demand Rose in 2021
Aerial drone photo of container vessel leaving industrial loading - unloading logistics container terminal area of Perama, Attica, Greece © Aerial-motion

Greece’s lubricant consumption rose 6% to 68,000 tons in 2021, driven by the country’s economic recovery from the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, an industry insider told the Union of the European Lubricant Industry’s annual congress last month in Athens.

Miltos Bantis, general manager of base oil rerefiner Lubricant & Petroleum Products Co., said that although relatively small, the Greek lubricant market is vibrant because of its unique geographical position that is ideal for developed tourism and seafaring. LPC is the lubricant arm of energy major Motor Oil Hellas Group.

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“We have seen a heathy 6% growth of lube consumption in 2021, and we are on a track to exceed that result in 2022,” he told the UEIL’s annual congress Oct. 19.

UEIL is a European trade association that represents the interests of the continent’s lubricants industry.

“Greece’s base oil production exceeds by four times the size of its finished lubricant market, while the country is exporting around 70% of its total base oils production,” Bantis said.

Greece has two base oil plants – Motor Oil Hellas’ 224,000 metric tons per year API Group I base oil plant in Agia Theodoroi in Corinth and LCPC’s 30,000 t/y Group I rerefinery in Aspropyrgos near Athens, according to the Lubes’n’Greases Base Stock Plant Data database.

Marine and automotive oils comprise a significant portion of Greece’s lubricant market, reflecting the country’s top global ranking in ownership of merchandise vessels and its economy’s heavy reliance on a well-developed tourism sector, according to LPC. In 2021, marine oils accounted for 37% of finished lubricant consumption while automotive lubricants held a 44% share.

Other industrial lubricants comprised only 16% of the Greek market last year.

This southeast European country of 10.5 million population has an abundance of active foreign and domestic motor oil brands. LPC found that Greece has a total fleet of 8.5 million vehicles, with a relatively high proportion of motorcycles.

“There are at least 15 foreign and nine domestic motor oil brands with active sales channels in the country,” Bantis said.

Foreign brands include Valvoline, Fuchs, Motul, Repsol, Eneos, Eni and Chevron, as well as Total, Shell, Mobil and others. Active Greek domestic brands – also available in the neighboring countries of Bulgaria, North Macedonia or Serbia – are Cyclon, Avin, Eldon’s, Aegean, Nipco, Slyder and others.

In the automotive segment, 41% of lubes are semi-synthetic and synthetic products.

Wholesalers play a key role in distribution of the finished products in the country and last year accounted for 45% of all lube sale channels. They were followed by workshops and dealerships at 32%, business-to-business companies with 10%, gasoline stations at 9% and quick lube stations comprising the remaining 1%.

LPC said that last year its Aspropyrgos rerefinery collected and rerefined 26,000 tons of used oil, achieving its collection target. Total collectible used oil volume in Greece last year amounted to 37,000 tons, a 6% increase from 2020.

“Sustainable management of used oils in Greece and our extended producer responsibility leads to a transition to a circular economy that uses fewer resources and recycles more,” Bantis said.

Established in 1981, LPC also operates a lubricant blending plant and a grease production unit, has three brands of finished lubricants – Avin, Cyclon and Nipco – and sells its products to more than 55 countries.

The parent company operates 1,500 fuel stations in Greece and Cyprus under the Motor Oil, Avin and Shell brands, employs around 3,000 and sells its wide range of fuels, lubricants and other energy products to more than 70 countries.

Motor Oil Hellas’ turnover last year amounted to €10 billion.

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