Engen Ups Electric Oils


Engen Lubricants has finished a 5 million rand (U.S. $684,000) upgrade of its transformer oil blending facilities to help meet growing demand, thanks mainly to South African power utility Eskom Holdings continued expansion.

It took us two years to grow from 340 kiloliters per annum to 6 million liters per annum and growing, Adnaan Emeran, lubricants marketing manager for Durban-based Engen, told Lube Report. Emeran noted that demand for transformer oils is growing all across South Africa, in line with Eskoms rebuilding and new build program. Most of the OEMs are based in Johannesburg and so most of the demand is in Johannesburg, he noted.

Get alerts when new Sustainability Blog articles are available.


According to its web site, Eskom generates, transports and distributes approximately 95 percent of South Africas electricity – making up 60 percent of the total electricity consumed on the African continent. Additional power stations, major power lines and substations are being built to meet the rising electricity demand in South Africa, Eskom chief executive Jacob Maroga said in the companys Aug. 27 financial results update.

Anton Allner, Engens industrial lubricants strategy manager, explained that with a focused marketing project manager, Engen put an experienced team together to plan and roll out the plant upgrade for transformer oils. The team consisted of senior sales staff, product line management, marketing strategists, infrastructure and plant logistics engineers who carefully planned a phased approach to the capacity expansion and facilities upgrade.

As we had an existing facility and equipment, it was important to keep that section of the blending going to ensure we satisfy our market demand, Allner told Lube Report. New equipment was then brought into the operation with a cut-over period to get both old and new to work. As such, a period of about 12 months brought us to this stage.

He noted that the next phase of the project was to revise the blend and dose systems along with a tank farm extension and revised circulation and filling systems. This took a further six months. As the market plan rolled out, and the demand increased for a wider range of Poweroil products, the next phase was around three months to get the operation setup to blend inhibited products, which is the latest addition to local blending.

Engen partners with Mumbia, India-based Apar Industries, which manufactures the Poweroil brand transformer oils. Our partner, Apar, has a large number of different products available for different applications/specifications, and is continuously developing more in order to meet changing international requirements or developments in technology, Emeran noted.

Through their extensive research and close relationships maintained by Engen and Apar with the various OEMs, new products are planned and rolled out as the demand is created in the market, Allner added. As such we are able to blend a range of local Poweroil products supported by an import range.

The higher demand for power production facilities in the Republic of South Africa includes not only residential but a variety of larger industries under development or seeking expansion of existing operations, according to Allner. Many of these are in the mining sector, but there are several other general industrial sectors needing more power such as cement and steel, with other metals as well, he continued. There is also a need for export power from Eskom and hence Southern Africa demand is also part of this increased demand, although local development is first on the list. Due to the higher demand, the IPP [independent power producers] are also increasing all over the RSA.

Allner noted that while the growth in demand for transformer oils is countrywide, it seemed to be concentrated in the Mpumalanga province, Ellisras area, where the biggest of the expansion power plants are being built, along with Cape Town and the Gauteng region. Most of the transformer builders/OEMs are based in Johannesburgs Gauteng region, he noted.

Independent power producers growth is scattered across the RSA as well, Allner said, including Durban, Richardsbay, Port Elisabeth, Mosselbay and many other inland sites. In the future, the wind farm energy will mainly be based in the West Coast around the Cape Town area, he said.

Related Topics

Market Topics