Shell Big on Asia


SINGAPORE – Shell Lubricants is committed to investing in Asia, with a focus on China, and its strong regional supply chain – including several base oil plants and a gas-to-liquids hub – is the foundation for that investment.

As Tempelman, Shell Lubricants Singapore-based general manager for global strategy, offered a big-picture overview of Asias lubricants market and Shells outlook for the future at the ICIS Asian Base Oils and Lubricants Conference here June 27.

Since 2010, said Tempelman, economic recovery has taken longer than expected and volatility has continued. Huge uncertainties remain, especially regarding Europe, but Asia is on track to become the leading market by 2015. Chinas present 8 percent GDP growth is the lowest in years, but it is still the Asian tiger, he continued. Shell remains bullish on the Asia-Pacific region.

In coming years, Asia will continue to lead in lubricant demand, with strong demand growth. By 2020, said Tempelman, the Asia-Pacific-Middle East regions will have 54 percent of global lubricant demand, up from 48 percent in 2010. China will account for fully half of that total.

While Chinese lube demand will increase across all segments, Shell expects the largest increase in the consumer segment. By 2020, half of the worlds vehicle sales will be in China, and one-fifth of all construction projects globally will be in China, he said.

Tempelman noted that Shell Lubricants strong focus on China is supported by its supply chain, including base oils from Singapore, Taiwan and Japan, and soon from the planned Hyundai Oilbank-Shell joint venture in Korea. Shell currently has lubricant and grease plants in China, and we will have a GTL hub in China, too.

Hyundai Oilbank announced plans in February to form a joint venture with Shell Petroleum Co. Ltd. to build and operate a 13,000 barrels per day base oil plant, with production expected to begin in 2014. Hyundai Oilbank said plant construction is expected to start this October at its refining complex in Daesan. Hyundai Oilbank would have a 60 percent share and Shell a 40 percent share in the joint venture.

Looking further ahead to 2050, Tempelman said Shell Energy predicts the global population could reach 9 billion, energy demand will double or triple, and more sustainable energy is essential.

Population growth and urbanization will drive changes. By 2050, 75 percent of the worlds population will live in cities and the scale of development will be enormous, Tempelman said. Infrastructure needs will be massive, and mobility needs will change. In China, half of the vehicles will be compact vehicles.

Transport accounts for much CO2 emissions, he continued, and Shell believes there is no silver bullet. The future will see a mosaic of fuel and vehicle options, varying by market. Internal combustion and liquid fuels are here to stay, but electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cells will be important later. Only 1.5 percent of vehicles in China will be electric by 2020, he predicted.

Shell invests $1.1 billion annually on technology, and the role of technology will grow. For fuel economy benefits, more cooperation is needed with vehicle manufacturers. Hardware and fluids must be co-engineered for optimal efficiency.

Asias future lubricant markets will see innovations beyond products, said Tempelman. Shells interactions with customers increasingly take place online. Half of urban Chinese are now online, looking online to source products, he noted. Internet ads are the future of lube marketing. Your future media spend should cover digital.

There are significant growth opportunities in Asia, Tempelman concluded. To succeed, companies need to invest in capacity, stay close to customers and regulators, and innovate, both in products and in ways of doing business.

Related Topics

Asia    Base Stocks    Finished Lubricants    Region