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Petronas Picks Group III …

Petronas, the national oil company of Malaysia, will build a Group III plant in that country. Engineering firm Foster Wheeler Ltd. announced that it and partner firm OGP Technical Services have been selected to manage the project to add a base oil plant at the Petronas refinery complex in Melaka, Malaysia.

Our refinery is already there, and we have a blending plant, so it is just a natural progression to add a base oil plant, a company spokesman told

Capacity of the plant has not been determined yet, but it will make Group III base oils, the spokesman confirmed. Construction is scheduled to begin January 2006, and the plant should be operating by mid-2007.

… as Sinopec Embraces Group II

Chinese oil giant Sinopec announced in late August it has finished upgrading its Gaoqiao base oil plant, and it expects to begin making Group II base oils there as this issue goes to press. With 5,800 barrels per day of capacity for making Group II and Group III stocks, the plant will be the biggest premium base oil producer in China. Improvements at Gaoqiao included installing Sinopecs first lube hydrogenation equipment.

In announcing the upgrade, Sinopec said it plans to raise the quality of its own lubes for sale within China and abroad. While Sinopec and PetroChina hold the biggest shares of Chinas lubes market, foreign brands have dominated the countrys sales of high-quality lubricants. This upgrade will definitely help Sinopec compete better in the high end of the market, industry observers agreed.

Mexican Firm Adds U.S. Base

To improve its prospects for sales in the United States and elsewhere, Vexa Group – a contract packager of lubes and greases founded in Mexico in 1927 – has agreed to acquire a Houston-based lube packager and distributor.

Houstons Cole Chemical Inc. announced last month it has sold a 49-percent stake in its distribution arm, Cole Distribution, to the Monterrey, Mexico, based Vexa. Vexa is to acquire the rest of Cole Distribution over the next

three years, but immediately will invest in new packaging lines and storage tanks, quadrupling the Houston facilitys capacity.

We see the partnership as a way to increase our visibility in the contract packaging industry and present Cole Distribution as a major player, said Donna Cole, chief operating officer of Cole Distribution. Cole Sales and Marketing Manager Dave Luther added that the expanded plant will make products for sale to Mexico, Canada and the Far East as well as the United States.


R. Kent Farmer has joined Spectrum Corp. in Selmer, Tenn., as president and chief executive officer. Spectrum is a blender and packager specializing in 2- and 4-cycle outboard oils. Farmer previously was president of Coastal Unilube Inc. in West Memphis, Ark.

Jamie Brunk is now a senior consultant at Solomon Associates, directing the Dallas-based firms Worldwide Lube Refining competitive analyses. Brunk has 28 years of lubricant industry experience, with Shell Lubricants and its predecessors.

Acme-Hardesty Co. has named Gwen Vestraci of Lakewood, Calif., as regional sales manager, covering Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. Formerly with Glaxo SmithKline, she has a B.S. in biology.

Betty Pfiester has been promoted to account manager for Rhein Chemies mid-central U.S. region, and will manage sales training as well. She has been with Rhein Chemie since 1996, when she joined Elastochem, a company it acquired in 1999.

China Draws Cargill, Hatco

With a recent manufacturing joint venture up and running in Brazil, specialty lubricant companies Cargill and Hatco are forming another – in China.

The two announced last month they are forming a joint venture to build a manufacturing plant to produce and market specialty esters. The goal is to serve Asian markets with high-performance esters and formulated synthetic lubricants for the refrigeration, automotive, industrial, metalworking and oil drilling markets. The plant, to be in the vicinity of Shanghai, will begin construction late this year and is to be completed by the end of 2005, they said.

Based in Fords, N.J., Hatco Corp. is a global leader in specialty esters and is part of Kaufman Holdings Inc. Cargill Industrial Oils & Lubricants, based in Minneapolis, supplies natural fats and oils to industrial markets, and is part of agribusiness giant Cargill.

MWF Certificate Program Debuts

Need a solid understanding of metalworking fluid management? Want to learn the latest techniques to improve metalworking fluid applications? Check out the new Metalworking Fluid Management Certificate Program. This much-anticipated event is co-sponsored by the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and will be held Nov. 9-11 at SME headquarters in Dearborn, Mich.

Participants in the program will review metalworking operations, explore fluid and additive chemistry, and learn to analyze the factors that affect the quality of fluids and the work environment. Other topics include microbiology and toxicological issues in the workplace; condition monitoring; and how to manage individual sumps or large central systems. The program includes pre- and post-course exams to demonstrate the certificate programs value. Class size is limited, so early registration is urged. Phone (800) 733-4763, or visit and .

U.K. Trade Groups to Merge

At the British Lubricants Federation Annual Dinner, coming Nov. 11 in London, a lot more than dinner is being served: BLF says it will unveil details of its planned merger with the U.K. Section of the Union Independante de lIndustrie Europeenne des Lubrificants (UEIL). BLFs 105 member companies produce the majority of the U.K.s 800,000-ton annual output of lubricants, and includes both major oil companies and independent manufacturers. UEIL, an affiliation of European trade associations representing independent lubricant manufacturers, has 35 members in its U.K. section, many of them overlapping with BLF.

The BLF dinner is a highlight of the groups annual calendar, and is being held at Londons Hilton Hotel. Contact: Rod Parker, Executive Director, British Lubricants Federation Ltd., Berkhamsted House, 121 High Street, Berkhamsted, Herts., United Kingdom HP4 2DJ. Phone: 44-1442-230589. E-mail:

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