Gulf Oil will begin producing greases and lubricants at its Ras Al-Khaimah plant in the United Arab Emirates tomorrow. The operation is slated to produce 10,800 metric t/y of grease and 20,000 metric t/y of lubricants.
The plants production will serve the automotive and industrial markets in the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan, and eastern Europe, according to a press release sent to Lube Report. The cost of the project was not disclosed.
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Gulf’s International Vice President Frank Rutten told Lube Report that once the facility is fully functioning, a staff of 114 will run operations on the 11-acre unit, which will both blend automotive and industrial lubricants and manufacture greases such as lithium, lithium complex, aluminum complex, and bentonite.
Production at this facility will be driven by a joint venture between Gulf Oil, the government of Ras Al Khaimah, and Standard Greases and Specialties Pvt. Ltd., a grease manufacturer based in India.
Gulf chose the Ras Al-Khaimah site based on its proximity to Saqr Port and its location on the Persian Gulf, which will support direct docking of base oil ships, Rutten noted. The economic environment is very attractive and supportive, which was the initial reason for building the Ashok Leyland plant (a sister company of Gulf in the Hinduja Group) in R.A.K. previously, Rutten said. Theres a good fiscal arrangement, good inter-regional trade, and many businesses, including cement companies, based in the region. The plant has been designed with easy and cost-effective modular expansion in mind, for potential growth of up to four times its current size, he said.
Lubricants operations will be fully automated, and grease production will be semi-automatic, based on traditional batch methodology, Rutten said. As of today, for greases there are one autoclave, one processing kettle, and two cooling kettles. There are also two small pack-filling machines, one drum-filling machine, and one pail-filling machine. Rutten also pointed out that the lubricants plant will feature three blending kettles and one solubilizer for viscosity index improver, as well as two small pack-filling machines and one line for drum and pail filling. The plant has an onsite base oil storage capacity of 7,800 tons.
According to a Gulf official, its current grease manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia produces 10,000 tons of grease per year.
Hyderabad, India-based Gulf Oil is part of conglomerate Hinduja Group. Standard Greases and Specialties Pvt Ltd., is the largest private label grease manufacturer in India with seven grease manufacturing facilities throughout India and Indonesia.