Shell Goes for Grease in China


Shell yesterday began construction of its largest grease manufacturing plant in Zhuhai, in Chinas Guangdong province.

A new addition to its Zhuhai lubricants manufacturing complex, Shells grease plant will produce lithium, lithium calcium and lithium complex greases used in passenger cars and industrial bearing lubrication. According to a Shell statement issued in China, the plant is primarily designed to meet Chinas growing grease demand, but in time may also export to other markets. Initial capacity was not disclosed, but future capacity could reach 40,000 metric tons per year.

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The company said the new grease plant demonstrates Shell Downstreams strategy to focus on countries that have growth opportunities.

According to NLGI Internationals latest grease production survey for 2009, lithium greases accounted for 86 percent of the 711 million pounds of grease produced by the 30 companies in China that participated in the survey.

This is a major step forward to expand our lubricants capacity in China with local manufacturing and supply, as well as technical service and cooperation, stated Lim Haw-Kuang, executive chairman of Shell Companies in China. He noted that Chinas lubricants demand is growing fast.

According to PetroChina estimates, Chinas lubricant demand rose more than 6 percent from 2008 to 2009, to 6 million metric tons. PetroChina expects lube consumption to climb to nearly 8.3 million tons by 2015.

In August 2010, Shell began constructing a state-of-the-art technical service center in the Zhuhai complex to provide technical, marketing and training support to lubricants customers and original equipment manufacturers. The center is expected to open for service in the second quarter of 2011.

In November 2009, Shell Lubricants started up a lubricants blending plant in China with 50 million gallons per year capacity to meet growing demand. With potential for phased development to 100 million gallons per year, it could become one of Shells top three blending plants worldwide in terms of volume. Also located at the Zhuhai complex, the plant supplies southern China with a variety of lubricant products, including Shells Helix, Rimula, Tellus, Omala and original equipment manufacturer products.

In 2006, Shell acquired a 75 percent share in Tongyi, Chinas leading independent lubricant manufacturer.

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