Belarus Additives Joint Venture Expands


Belarus Additives Joint Venture Expands
A filling line at the Additech additives plant in in Novopolotsk, Belarus. Photo courtesy of Additech

AddiTech, a lubricant additive joint venture between the Russian and Belarus oil majors Lukoil and Naftan, expanded its production capacity to 40,000 tons per year in 2022, double its size in 2016, according to a Russian news report.

Formerly known as LLK-Naftan, in May 2021 the company changed its ownership structure and name to AddiTech, to avoid being associated with the Belarus energy company that is under Western sanctions.

The joint venture was created in 2006.

“On our 10th anniversary we managed to reach a milestone of up to 20,000 t/y of produced lubricant additives,” the company told a reporter during a press tour to the plant’s premises in May. “By the end of 2022, the enterprise doubled its production capacity to 40,000 t/y.”

It added that the geography of its sales includes 27 different countries.

AddiTech is the only large Russian additive producer.

Lukoil owns a controlling 50% stake in the firm, which is located in Novopolotsk. Belarus Naftan holds 47%, while 3% shares were redistributed to the local government of Novopolotsk.

The plant can produce a wide range of additives for production of passenger car motor oil, as well as for marine, diesel locomotive, hydraulic and transmission oil formulations. The production mostly serves the needs of Lukoil. The company, running its lube business through LLK International, is the largest lubricant marketer in Russia and holds around 40% of the country’s 1.7 million tons of annual lubricant demand.

Russia imported around 59,000 tons and 54,000 tons of lube additives in 2020 and 2019, respectively, according to B2X, a Moscow-based consultancy. These volumes exclude additives made by AddiTech.

The United States and the European Union imposed sanctions in June 2021 against Belneftkhim, Naftan and other Belarus energy companies, punishing the government’s brutal crackdown on the peaceful popular protests against the purportedly false election results and reinstatement of Alexander Lukashenko as president of the country in 2020.

In addition to that, the Russian lubricant market has struggled with lubricant additive supply since Western companies withdrew from Russia and Belarus following the Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, in which Lukashenko security forces participated. Infineum, Chevron Oronite, Lubrizol and Afton Chemical – who supply most of the world’s lubricant additive packages, especially for finished lubes meeting the latest industry and original equipment manufacturer performance standards – all left both markets, protesting the war. That followed the exodus of many other Western energy companies, including Shell, ExxonMobil and TotalEnergies.

Without access to finished products and lubricant additive packages of those companies, Russian lube marketers have reportedly turned to sources in countries such as China.

AddiTech claims that currently it is developing additive packages for motor oils in accordance with the latest European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association and American Petroleum Institute standards. In its annual performance report for 2022, Lukoil claims it produces motor oils according to the German Association of Automotive Industry standards .

The company said it produces succinimide additives used to prevent sludge, soot, oxidation products, and other deposit precursors dispersed in engine oil. It also produces dithiophosphate, sulfonate and alkylphenol additives, all used in engine oil formulations as detergent dispersants, acid neutralizers, as well as corrosion inhibitors and wear controllers.