Quicker Rollout Possible for GF-6 in AMEA

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Compared to previous engine oil standards, Asia, Middle East and Africa regions may see a quicker rollout of ILSAC GF-6 following its launch in North America next year, a consultant told an industry conference last month.

The technology transfer and lag has been reduced considerably between the Western world and AMEA, so we expect ILSAC GF-6 in AMEA shortly after its introduction in [North America] in 2020, Shailendra Gokhale, managing partner of Rosefield DAA International Consultancy LLP, said in a joint presentation with Raj Shah, director at New York-based Koehler Instrument Co., at the Asia, Middle East and Africa Bitumen and Base Oil Conference, organized by Petrosil Group. The conference was held in Mumbai, India.

The debut of ILSAC GF-6, the newest specification from the International Lubricants Standardization and Advisory Committee for passenger car engine oils in North America, has been pushed back several times, but its first acceptable usage is expected to be in May 2020.

Typically, AMEA is not far behind in adoption once any new automotive oil specs are in full use in the United States and Europe, Gokhale told Lube Report. API CK-4 is a classic example in recent times, he noted.

In the case of ILSAC GF-6, Gokhale said the cost of the oils may be a factor that can possibly increase the adoption time needed for new specs in some AMEA markets. Thus, unless mandated by the governmental regulations in AMEA countries, adoption in this case could take possibly a bit longer, he said, adding that the regulations could be a catalyst for a quicker change.

The adoption of GF-6 will likely occur faster in the United Arab Emirates as compared with other countries in the Middle East, Gokhale said. Since the majority of vehicles in the U.A.E. are petrol [based], penetration will be deeper, as well, he added.

For the Africa region, Gokhale anticipates adoption of GF-6 may take more time. My feeling is that they will take time, due to (higher) cost implications, he said.

Some countries in Asia will likely adopt GF-6 quicker. My hunch is that a country like India will push for early adoption, Gokhale said, citing the recent example of Indias decision to shift to the Bharat Stage VI emissions standard in 2020, ahead of other countries in the AMEA region.

India plans to jump from the current BS IV standard directly to BS VI in April, skipping the BS V phase altogether to tackle the nations air pollution woes sooner. BS VI is equivalent to the European Unions Euro 6 standard and is expected to force engine design changes that require more advanced engine oils in India.

First allowable use for GF-6 is scheduled for May 1, 2020. Nine to 12 months later, ILSAC GF-6 will be mandatory for all light-duty engine oils bearing the American Petroleum Institutes starburst trademark.

Gokhale added that the new specification aims to improve fuel economy. Despite the slowing down of environmental regulations in the U.S., OEMs are very closely working with lubricant companies and additives companies to see how [improved] fuel economy can happen, and clearly GF-6 is designed more towards that, Gokhale said.

The new standard has two sub-categories, ILSAC GF-6A and ILSAC GF-6B, to cover a wide range of vehicles, including future ones, he noted. ILSAC GF-6B is for SAE XW-16 oils, and GF-6A is for heavier legacy viscosity grades.

Gokhale said high quality base oils and new lubricants will be needed to meet the requirements of changing engine technology.

He also downplayed the threat to lubricants due to the emergence of electric vehicles. The enormous work done on this specification clearly reflects the confidence of industry that internal combustion engines are not going to be outdated soon, Gokhale stated.

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