Additives Demand Outpaces Lubes


Global lubricant additive consumption will grow 2.2 percent per year from 4 million metric tons in 2012 to 4.5 million tons by 2017, consultancy Kline & Co. projected, exceeding the 1.7 percent annual growth rate projected for finished lubricants.

Kline valued 2012s global lubricant additive consumption of 4 million tons at $13.3 billion.

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Upshi Ghosh, project manager for Klines energy practice, presented a webinar yesterday on the study, Global Lubricant Additives: Market Analysis and Opportunities.

By function class, Kline projects antioxidants to have the fastest growth to 2017 at 4.9 percent per year, followed by dispersants at just under 3 percent, viscosity index improvers a little over 2.5 percent, and pour point depressants around 2.4 percent.

The top lubricant categories for additives consumption in 2012 were heavy-duty motor oil, accounting for 33 percent of global demand, and passenger car motor oil at 27 percent, Kline found. Additives used in other automotive oils accounted for 7 percent. Additives in metalworking fluids accounted for 14 percent, followed by industrial engine oils with 13 percent, and general industrial oils at 4 percent. Other types accounted for the balance.

Just three classes (dispersants with 25 percent, viscosity index improvers, 24 percent, and detergents with 21 percent) together accounted for 70 percent of total additives consumption in 2012. They were followed distantly by antiwear agents at 7 percent; antioxidants, 5 percent; corrosion inhibitors and friction modifiers, each 4 percent; and emulsifiers at 3 percent. Other types accounted for the rest.

According to Kline, which is based in Parsippany, N.J., global consumption of finished lubricants reached 39 million tons in 2012. Comparing overall finished lubricant consumption with the overall additive consumption, what we see is the global additive consumption accounts for roughly 10 percent of the global lubricant consumption, Ghosh said. To avoid double counting, she noted, the study excluded aftermarket oil additives.

As in finished lubricants demand – where passenger car motor oil and heavy-duty motor oil together account for 46 percent of global demand – PCMO and HDMO account for the vast majority of global additive demand, at 60 percent, due to more additization in HDMO and PCMO products, as compared to industrial products, she pointed out.

Key drivers for HDMO formulation and additives consumption include new engine technologies introduced in response to increasingly stringent emission limits, penetration of biodiesel, the shift to higher-performance oils and multigrades, and extended drain intervals.

She noted that the ACEA 2012 European Oil Sequence is tuned towards providing some degree of biodiesel compatibility. The increasing penetration of biodiesel led to increased use of antioxidants, to handle sludge, acids and oil thickening issues, Ghosh said. Growing use of biofuel in North America means this same need is on the wish-list for the PC-11 heavy-duty engine oil upgrade, due in 2016 for North American trucks.

As the market shifts away from monogrades (which are still 33 percent of the global market) towards multigrades, the share of viscosity improvers and antioxidants will increase, she said, along with increased consumption of detergents and dispersants.

Extended drain intervals is another trend in HDMO. She noted that to make engine oils more durable, an up-treat of antioxidants and dispersants will be required.

On the PCMO side, Ghosh said trends affecting lubricant formulation and additives demand include introduction of new specifications such as ILSACs GF-5 and GF-6 and ACEA 2012. She pointed out the shift from GF-4 to GF-5 is still under way in many developing countries, and should increase the consumption of additives such as antioxidants and friction modifiers. The next step up, to GF-6 oils, will not have as significant an impact on additives though, as what we saw going from GF-4 to GF-5. GF-6 formulations even could see some reduction in the share of detergents needed in their addpack.

The trend towards lower viscosity PCMO will also impact additives. As the market continues to shift towards lower viscosity grades, there will be an increasing use of friction modifiers, she said.

The extension of drain intervals for PCMO will require increased oil durability. Extended drain intervals have a direct impact on increasing dispersant and antioxidant treat rates in PCMO formulations, she said.

The growth in usage of flexible fuel vehicles that use ethanol is expected to fuel an increased need for rust and corrosion inhibitors, as well as emulsion retention.

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Additive Components    Additives    Business    Dispersants