As China's lubricant market becomes more crowded, some suppliers - including both oil manufacturer marketers and distributors - are seeking new ways to gain market share.
Shell recently inaugurated a bulk storage terminal for lubricants in Guiguinto, the Philippines - its first new lubricants facility in the country since the obligatory demolition of its oil depot in Manilas Pandacan neighborhood last November.
Regional dealers are widely viewed as key cogs for producers seeking timely headway in Chinas vast lubricant market. As the landscape becomes more competitive, though, dealers are becoming increasingly choosy, wary and sometimes confused.
ExxonMobil is reentering the Vietnamese finished lubricants market via two distributors after selling its blending plant and most other lube assets there to Total in 2009.
Total Lubmarine, the marine lubricants arm of French energy giant Total, said its shipping activity in Chinas Tianjin port has resumed following the areas Aug. 12 explosion, yet is still subject to minor delays.
Local government in Tianjin, China, suspended port traffic following Wednesdays deadly warehouse explosions at the northeast China industrial zone, which is the busiest base oil port in Northeast Asia and a prominent lubricants supply hub.
Royal Dutch Shell said it has not yet left the Pandacan Oil Depot in Manila, despite the passing of a deadline set by local government.
An April 9 fire damaged an Ahmedabad, India, depot owned by a distributor of Tide Water Oil Co., burning approximately Rs 13.5 million (U.S. $212,000) worth of Veedol-branded lubricants.
Gulf Petrochem has opened a storage terminal for base stocks and other fluids in Gujarat, India, saying it will provide improved access to the northwestern part of the country.
It is no secret that building an extensive sales network is essential for achieving significant sales in China, a massive yet highly fragmented market. However, is such a network enough? The answer probably is no for many Chinese lube suppliers, especially small and medium-sized ones.