Gazprom to Oil Chinese Cars

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Russian lube marketer Gazprom Neft-SM forged a technical and marketing partnership with the Chinese automaker Lifan, the energy giant said last week.

The agreement covers Lifan operations in Russia, carried out by Lifan Motors Rus, the official distributor of Lifans Chinese cars in the country. “The collaboration began in July 2012, when [our] production was approved for factory fill of the new Lifan cars,” Gazprom Neft-SM said in a press release last week.

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“At the moment there are ongoing tests of our lubricants and fluids that are sold under G-Energy brand, and they soon will be used in the new Lifan models. When the results of the tests are done, our production will be specified and recommended for warranty and post-warranty use in the cars,” Gazprom Neft-SM said.

The partnership also includes development of new products designed specifically for the Chinese cars, that are assembled in a plant in Karachaevo-Cherkessia, a republic in the North Caucasus, operated by the independent automobile company Derways.

“Establishing partnerships and joint lubricant tests with the Russian and foreign car makers is an important part of our development strategy,” said Alexandar Truhan, Gazprom Neft-SM’s general director. Both companies said that this partnership will give them a stronger position in the Russian marketplace.

Together with Gazprom Neft we will develop our client base and introduce a line of new specialized [lubricant] products for our Russian customers, said Sun Tszetszyun, the general director of Lifan Motors Rus.

Gazproms finished lube sales have also expanded into neighbouring Belarus. The company’s hydraulic fluid marketed under the Gazpromneft Hydraulic brand was approved for use in Maz-Man, a joint Belarus-German heavy duty truck and construction machinery manufacturer, Gazprom Neft-SM said last week. The Minsk-based heavy duty truck maker has capacity to produce around 3,000 units annually.

Gazprom Neft-SM is the lubricants arm of Russian oil major Gazprom Neft.

Lifan Industry Group is a major automotive company in China and one of the countrys biggest exporters. The Russian plant has capacity to assemble 100,000 cars annually, and in 2011 it manufactured 23,374 Lifan cars.

After Lukoil and Rosneft, Gazprom Neft is the third largest lubricants marketer in Russia. The company’s total combined lubricants and base oil production in 2011 amounted to 409,000 metric tons, and it held 11 percent of Russia’s lubricants market, according to Oleg Tsvetkov of VNII NP, the Moscow-based All Russia Research Institute of Oil Refining.

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