Russian Motor Oils in Recovery Mode

Russian passenger cars and light commercial vehicles consumed 256,000 tons of motor oils in 2017, up 1.8 percent from 2016, according to a study that concluded demand was tamped down by increased use of synthetic oils and longer drain intervals.

By 2020, in the passenger car and light commercial vehicle segments we expect a growth rate that goes in line with the slow recovery of the lubricant market in Russia, Victor Pushkarev, head of projects at the Moscow-based consultancy Autostat, told Lube Report. In the passenger car segment this growth could be as low as 1.8 percent to 2.5 percent, while in the light commercial vehicle segment it could be higher - from 3.8 percent to 4.2 percent.

Photo: ByeByeTokyo/iStock

Russian passenger cars and light commercial vehicles – such as those shown here on Nevsky Prospekt Ave. in Saint Petersburg, Russia – consumed 256,000 tons of motor oils in 2017, up 1.8 percent compared to from 2016, according to a study by Moscow-based consultancy Autostat.

The consultancy found that Russian lubricant manufacturers produced 520,000 tons of motor oils in 2017. Of this total, around half was produced by Lukoil. If we take into account Gazprom Neft and Rosneft, the two largest Russian producers after Lukoil, 87 percent of this volume was produced by the countrys three top marketers, Pushkarev said.

Both Lukoil and Gazprom Neft manufacture high quality lubricants, and about 50 percent of each companys assortment consists of synthetic oils that comply with the American Petroleum Institutes SN engine oil category, Autostat found.

Fifty percent of Lukoils total motor oil assortment complies with APIs SN category, while 41 percent of Gazprom Nefts motor oils assortment is under API SN, Pushkarev said.

In 2017, Russia imported 195,000 tons of motor oils, a 2 percent decrease from the year before, according to the consultancy. We found that 60 percent of this imported volume was used by the countrys passenger car and light commercial vehicle segments. The largest motor oil importers in the country are BP, Total, ExxonMobil, Liqui Moly, SK Lubricants and Motul, Pushkarev said.

Last year Russian lube marketers exported 280,000 tons of motor oils, of which 66 percent were passenger car engine oils (including engine oils for tractors). Traditionally, Lukoil, Gazprom Neft and Rosneft are the largest exporters, and these three companies held 70 percent of the countrys total motor oil exports in 2017, he said.

Autostat also found that the key passenger car and light commercial vehicle motor oil sales channels in Russia remain auto part retail centers. Last year, 49 percent of the total sales in these segments were performed through these retail centers, and at least 96 percent of the products sold here were synthetic and semi-synthetic motor oils, Pushkarev said.

The most popular foreign engine oil brands in Russia remain Castrol, Shell, Liqui Moly and Mobil, as well as their domestic competitor Lukoil. Our analyses have shown that in 2017 all domestic marketers increased the price tags of their engine oil products, contrary to the foreign brands that lowered the prices of their products, he said, adding that there was even a considerable correction in the prices of some foreign brands.

In its study, the consultancy found a number of changes in the Russian motorists behavior since 2015. These changes include motorists performing oil changes after longer oil drain intervals, and increased inclination to choose synthetic motor oils.

Autostat is a Moscow-based analytical agency that covers the Russian and CIS automotive markets.

Russian and English versions of the report are available for purchase at the consultancys website:

https://www.autostat.ru/research/product/269/