Sintec Expands Grease Plant


Sintec Expands Grease Plant
An employee uses an injection moulding machine at Sintec's grease plant in the city of Obninsk, in Russia's Kaluga region. Photo courtesy of Sintec Group

Russian lubricant producer Sintec Group recently doubled the size of its grease plant, increasing production capacity to 12,000 metric tons per year in a bid to raise sales to the metallurgy, mining and agriculture sectors.

The upgraded plant now can also produce greases for heavy-duty machinery by employing advanced foreign-made equipment and integrating new pre-mixers into the production process, according to the company’s Oct. 26 news release. The new technical solution cuts the production time for one batch of finished products from 36 hours to 18 hours, resulting in doubled capacity, Sintec stated.

“The launch of the new complex for manufacturing high-quality lithium greases will allow us to increase the production volume to 12,000 tons annually, addressing the market demand,” said Gennady Zadorozhny, Sintec Group’s business sales director. “The possibility to extend the service life of spare parts and expendable materials used in production equipment and industrial machinery gains much better appeal in the current economic situation.”

The equipment Sintec is using for its upgraded grease production is made by the German machine manufacturer Arburg.

Zadorozhny mentioned that Sintec Group is actively working to supply the Russian industry sectors with necessary products of “quality and properties that are equal or even surpass those of foreign counterparts,” aligning with the government’s imports substitution policy.

Sintec aims to expand its supplies in Russia’s metallurgy, mining, agriculture, and other industrial sectors, the company said.

Leading Western lubricant makers withdrew from the Russian market last year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Western sanctions imposed on Russia created barriers to prevent European companies  from conducting direct banking transactions and business in the country. Most of the Western equipment and foreign-made lubricants available in the country now come through sanction loopholes established by companies in third countries such as Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia or Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan in Central Asia.

Sintec Group, formerly known as Obninskorgsintez, is based in Obninsk, an industrial city relatively close to Moscow, in Kaluga oblast, where at least two other large lubricant production plants operate — those of the German lube maker Fuchs SE and the French oil major TotalEnergies, which was taken over by a local Russian company after Total retreated from Russia in the summer of 2022.

In the first decade of this century, Obninskorgsintez mostly supplied antifreeze. The company made its foray into lubricants in 2010 and likely reached its peak in 2017 and 2018 by producing around 150,000 tons of finished lubricants each year, sold under its Sintec brand. The subsequent years brought lower results.

Sintec Group is affiliated with United Petrochemicals, or Upec, located at the same address as Suntec, and is tasked with marketing the capacity for toll blending. Some foreign companies are using the services of Upec. Mostly coming from Asia, they are eager to tap into the lucrative Russian market, now devoid of the large Western international players.

Sintec claims to be among the five largest lube marketers in the country, after Lukoil, Gazprom Neft, and Rosneft. Unlike the top three producers, which are all part of integrated oil companies, Sintec is an independent lubricant producer without its own base oil production.