Lubcon Nigeria Ltd. has produced Rugged Elite 5W-40, a synthetic motor oil that claims to be the first synthetic lubricant manufactured within the African country.
As far as we know, all the 100 percent synthetic [lubricants] sold in Nigeria are imported, Taiye Williams, managing director of Lubcon, told Lube Report. Rugged Elite will therefore be the first indigenous 100 percent synthetic motor oil. It is made strictly with API Group III base oil.
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The Lubricants Producer Association of Nigeria (Lupan) described the product as a welcome development. Lupan said it is elated at the enterprising venture of an indigenous company into a virtually alien terrain in the manufacture of lubricants in Nigeria.
Emeka Obidike, Lupans executive secretary, said the manufacture of synthetic lubricants in the country disproves the thinking that local production of foreign products is not feasible without a compromise in quality.
Synthetic lubricants comprise 4 percent of Nigerias lubes market, according to Lupan. The association is enthusiastic about Lubcons new product because it anticipates that a locally manufactured synthetic lubricant will elicit interests and consequently more demand for synthetics in the country. However, some industry sources expressed skepticism.
Dr. John Erinne, chief executive officer of Matrix Petro-Chem Ltd., said Lupans excitement may not translate to market place reality.
These synthetics are very expensive, and the Nigerian market is very price sensitive. Since all the ingredients for local production are necessarily imported, the products are not likely to be significantly cheaper than imported products, Erinne told Lube report.
Lubcons Williams emphasized that synthetic lubricants are not about numbers alone but about an upgrade in lubricant quality for both the market and consumers in Nigeria.
It will further confirm how the company is focused on quality and best practices, Williams said. Internally we had to set up a stringent system to meet the requirements for the production of Rugged. We think it is well worth it.
Mobil 1 is the leading synthetic on the Nigerian lubes market, but Williams pointed out that the objective of Lubcon is to make Rugged Elite the synthetic of first choice in Africa.