Shell Boosts Thai Grease, Lube Capacities


Shell has expanded capacity for grease and lubricating oilproduction at its Thailand plantsto help serve increasing demand in the Asia-Pacific region, a Shell official said last week.

Tim Ford, vice president of Lubricants Asia Pacific of Royal Dutch Shell, outlined the company’s activities in the region during interviews with media in Thailand Oct. 2.

Shell International Petroleum Co. Ltd. spokeswoman Sally Hepton confirmed that the expansions increased annual grease production capacity from 2.8 million to 6 million kilograms and the lube oil blending plant capacity from 200 million to 300 million liters per year. Shell invested Bt100 million (U.S. $3.2 million) in the expansion, which it expects to have onstream at the end of this year. The company completed engineering work and the new capacity in the third quarter of this year, according to Hepton.

Thailands grease plant is one of the supply sources servicing the grease demand in the regional supply network, meeting regional as well as national demand, Hepton told Lube Report. The plant will be supplying both industrial and automotive grease grades.

In June, Shell announced it would boost capacity at its grease plants in Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore to meet the growing demand for specialty industrial lubricants in the region.

The Thai market is a growth market, and an important one for Shell, given their local dominance, Geeta Agashe, director of Little Falls, N.J.-based consultant Kline and Co.s Petroleum and Energy Practice, told Lube Report. We are predicting over 4 percent growth in the consumer automotive and industrial segments and 2 percent growth in the commercial automotive lubricants segment in the next five years on an average annual percentage basis.

Kline and Co. estimates the Thai lubricants market at about 475 kilotons per year. Shell clearly has a leading market share in 2006, accounting for 27 percent of the Thai lubes market, said Agashe. They are particularly strong in the consumer automotive lubes segment in Thailand. ExxonMobil accounts for an estimated 19 percent of the Thai lubes market share, and comes in second place.

Shell markets Rimula, Rotella, Helix, Advance (MCO), Spirax gear oils and Retinax greases in Thailand, according to Agashe. The company markets both synthetic and conventional oils in the country, she added.

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