Ukraine lubricant companies contended last week that they are facing a serious financial crisis because of a new base oil import duty that went into effect May 23.
The European Commission last week adopted a quota for API Group II base oil imports, determining that volumes above 400,000 metric tons per year will be subject to duties of 3.7 percent.
API Group I rationalization continues to occur in Europe, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States - with more expected in the Middle East - while an influx of new Group II capacity is projected to result in a surplus of that grade in Russia and CIS countries, an industry insider said.
Energy demand will decrease 11 percent in Europe and 5 percent in Russia and the Caspian region between 2017 and 2040, according to a new forecast by ExxonMobil. At the same time, the study predicts increases of 37 and 32 percent, respectively, in Africa and the Middle East.
German-Turkish joint venture Opet Fuchs last week announced the start of operations at its lubricant blending plant in Aliaga, Turkey, near Izmir, saying the plant was built to meet rapid sales growth in the country and in the neighboring markets.
Engine oil demand in Romania increased by 8.8 percent in 2018, compared to the year before, as used car sales spiked over the same period of time, according to Ziarul Financier, a Romanian business publication.
The Russian government last month banned exports of petrochemical products, including lubricants and slack waxes, to Ukraine. Some industry insiders called it worrisome for Russian lube suppliers while others said the rules are vague and do not clearly show what is embargoed.
A refinery in Ballsh, Albania, and its associated API Group I base oil plant has been idled since January because of irregular crude oil supply.
Uzbekistans national oil and gas company said it met with a Chinese construction firm last month to discuss adding a base oil plant to a large gas-to-liquids project that the country is developing.
The Union of the European Lubricants Industry announced last week the formation of a sustainability task force charged with developing a framework to measure the sustainability of lubricant companies.
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