Nippon Oil Builds U.S. Blend Plant


Nippon Oil Corp. broke ground yesterday on its first lubricant blending plant in the United States, a facility scheduled to open next August in Childersburg, Ala. The Japanese company said it is building the plant primarily to supply in-state factories operated by Asian automakers.

Nippon Oil already has a sales office in Chicago and has been selling lubes to Japanese car companies in the United States since 1980. Those products have been toll-blended by third-party suppliers.

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We have been talking about doing this for a few years, said Masaaki Henry Hasegawa, president of Nippon Oil Lubricants (America) LLC, so we decided it was about time to establish our own production.

The new plant will have capacity to make 38 millionliters (10 million gallons) of lubricants and 800 metric tons of grease per year. It will employ approximately 30 people and be built on a 20-acre site designed to accommodate future expansion.

Nippon Oil said it chose to build the plant in Childersburg because it is conveniently close to Alabama factories operated by Toyota, Honda and Hyundai, all of which are supplied by Nippon Oil. The lube plant will make engine oils for automobiles and motorcycles, automatic transmission and power steering fluids and shock absorber oil, as well as industrial lubricants.

Because its products in the United States are made for factory fill, Nippon Oil does not currently sell under a brand name, but officials said the company plans soon to introduce the Eneos brand it uses in Japan and elsewhere.

Nippon claims to be the largest oil company in Japan and the seventh-largest worldwide.

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