Global Grease Production Rises Sharply


WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Global grease production grew by more than 7.5 percent from 2006 to 2007, propelled by gains seen in China, Europe and India, an industry group heard last week. According to NLGIs Grease Production Survey for 2007, worldwide grease output reached 1,047,000 metric tons, up from 974,000 metric tons reportedin 2006.

On a comparative basis – that is, only including volumes produced by companies that provided data for each of the past four years – global production rose 7.2 percent from 2006 to 2007, the survey indicates. Since 2004, the global grease market has expanded an average of 7 percent annually.

While there were no stand-out trends in the global grease market in 2007, the obvious [trend] is a substantial increase in reported grease production in China, Thomas Pane, who presented the surveys data at NLGIs annual meeting last week, told Lube Report.

In 2007, China was the worlds largest grease manufacturer, accounting for 26.7 percent of global production. In terms of volume, it reported producing 279,000 metric tons — 20.7 percent more than the year before. In fact, the annual survey shows, grease production in China more than doubled from 2005 to 2007.

China is apparently importing less grease from the U.S. and Europe, said Pane, a global sales manager at Norwalk, Conn.-based King Industries. Their usage has increased due to more industrialization than in the past.

Other major manufacturing regions such as North America and Europe grabbed 22.6 percent and 20 percent shares of the global grease market in 2007, respectively. North America produced 236,000 metric tons, a 5.3 decline compared to 2006, while production in Europe rose to 209,000 metric tons, a gain of almost 10 percent.

India and the Indian Subcontinent, Japan, the Pacific, Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East – which together account for 26.5 percent of the global grease market – all reported increases in their grease manufacturing, while production in the Caribbean, Central and South America fell by 3 percent.

Analyzing grease production by thickener type, the survey found strongest demand for lithium, lithium complex and calcium greases in 2007. Together, these types make up about 85 percent of the worlds supply.

Conventional lithium greases accounted for 58.2 percent, lithium complex grease 15.4 percent and calcium 11.7 percent of overall worldwide demand, Pane indicated, yet some regions have unique markets. In Japan, for example, polyurea is over 23 percent of grease made, while other regions make little or none of it.

The survey requested data from a contact list of 212 manufacturers, largely provided by NLGI, ELGI and the Japan Grease Institute. Reponses from 146 companies or organizations were included in this years report, collected and compiled by Joe Lurz of J and A Consultants, Houston, to ensure confidentiality of the replies.

Kansas City, Mo.-based NLGI offers copies of the complete NLGI Grease Production Survey for $75 to member companies; $150 to nonmembers. For information and to order, visit and click on NLGI Store. To order, download and print the publication request form.

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