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After Katrina, Painful Recovery

The destructive force of Hurricane Katrina did not spare the lubricants industry, and as this issue goes to press, industry offcials are still evaluating the damage to the regions refiners, blenders and additives manufacturers. The monster storm, which flooded New Orleans and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless along the U.S. Gulf Coast, also left many industrial facilities without communications, power or water. As those utilities began to be restored, mending the regions infrastructure began to emerge as a longterm challenge.

Chevron Oronites plant in Belle Chasse, La., next to New Orleans, shut down before the storm and was inspected and found largely intact soon after. The facility remains sidelined, however, because rail, road and power supplies must be restored before it can reopen. Thats compounding an existing shortage of supplies which already had forced the additive company on Aug. 11 to issue a painful global force majeure notice, which it did not expect to be able to lift before first quarter 2006

Dow Chemical Co. had closed its Hahnville, La., plant, and two days after the storm issued force majeure for products made there, including ethanolamines used in lubricants and additives. Although the plant appears undamaged and operations were being gradually resumed by mid- September, the company said the supply disruption would probably continue at least through October, due to problems with transportation and logistics.

ConocoPhillips, at press time, was still unable to provide information about operations at Stolthavens Braithwaite terminal on the Mississippi River, just east of New Orleans, where it receives and dispenses Group III base oils imported from South Korea. The company has other supply points for the oils, but this was its primary location for the stocks.

See page 68 for a look at the hurricanes impact on base oil supplies. Current updates also can be found at

A Group III Plant for Bahrain

Neste Oil, which operates a Group III plant in Porvoo, Finland, is forming a joint venture to build another in the tiny Middle Eastern kingdom of Bahrain. Its partner in the project is Bahrain Petroleum Co., and the plant is scheduled to stream in 2008 with a planned capacity of 400,000 metric tons a year (about 7,700 barrels a day). It will be built at Bapcos oil refinery south of the capital city of Manama.

At least six other advanced base oil plants are planned for Asia – in India, Malaysia, Qatar and Taiwan – but Neste Executive Vice President Kimmo Rahkamo says the need for high-end base stocks is outracing construction. We see demand growing at such a rapid pace that we really arent thinking about competition

from others, he told the enewsletter Our bigger concern is not being able to keep up with demand.

Estech Venture Closing

Hatco Corp. and Celanese Chemicals are closing their three year-old German joint venture Estech GmbH, which makes polyol ester synthetic lubricant base stocks. Fords, N.J., based Hatco said the business did not take off as the two had hoped, due to economic conditions in Europe and a dimmed outlook for refrigeration compressor oils, Estechs biggest target market. The plant, in Oberhausen, Germany, will halt production Oct. 31 and end shipments Nov. 30. Hatco plans to supply the joint ventures accounts from its facilities in the United States, which it says have ample capacity for the production.

Mauser Acquires Russell-Stanley

The worlds second-largest container manufacturer, Germanys Mauser Group, is to acquire Russell-Stanley Holdings Inc., one of the biggest suppliers of steel drums and plastic containers for the North American lubricants industry. The two are already linked, as Russell-Stanleys plastic drum business has for 20 years been based on a manufacturing license from Mauser, and Mauser, based in Bruhl, Germany, plans to keep Russell-Stanleys management in place after the deal closes this fall. Meanwhile, Russell-Stanley on Aug. 22 said it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, with a prepackaged plan of reorganization that creditors had already endorsed. It said it filed the bankruptcy petition in order to effectuate the asset purchase by Mauser, and both companies stressed that Russell-Stanley is financially sound and will fulfill obligations to customers.

Antioxidant Prices Up

Chemtura and its Great Lakes Chemical subsidiary last month announced price increases ranging from 4.5 percent up to 19 percent on a broad range of antioxidants, including phenolics, phosphites, blends and other types, effective Oct. 1. The company said the increases are due to rising raw conmaterial, energy and transportation costs, to meet baseline profitability and to provide for future investment in the products.

Avatar Builds

By February, Avatar Corp. will have nearly tripled the size of its University Park, Ill., facilities for making lubricants and specialty release agents for the food and drug industries, the company recently announced. The project represents a $5 million investment, and will add 64,000 square feet of production, warehouse and logistical space, plus 8,300 s.f. of offices. Company president and CEO Michael Shamie said the expansion will create 20 new jobs at the company, as well. Avatar specializes in bulk pharmaceutical chemicals, and its lubricants facility is regulated by theFDA.

Growth Forecast for Machine Tools

World machine tool demand will exceed $84 billion in 2009, a gain of 5.2 percent per year, says a new study. The growth will be driven by the release of pent-up demand, particularly in industrialized nations where much of the existing installed base is in need of modernization and upgrade following several years of underinvestment. Rapidly industrializing economies such as China will also fuel growth, and widen the market base as well, according to World Machine Tools, a new study from market research firm The Freedonia Group Inc.

Fastest growth will be in East Asia, including India, Malaysia, Thailand and especially China, the study notes, and Soth Korea and Taiwan will continue to raise their profiles as both producers and consumers of machine tool products. The hottest markets will include tools for electronic equipment and motor vehicle manufacturing.

World Machine Tools is available for $5,200 from The Freedonia Group. For details, phone Corinne Gangloff at (440) 684-9600. Web:

Intertek Buys PARC

Parc Technical Services Inc. has been acquired by Intertek Caleb Brett, a Houston-based laboratory services provider. Parc, based in Pittsburgh, provides testing for refining processes and for automotive lubricants, including engine oils, gear oils and lube additives, and fuels. It was created in 1986 from the Gulf

Oil Research and Development Co. Intertek Caleb Brett is part of Londons Intertek Group Plc., and bought Parc from the private investment firm Gemini Holdings Inc. Terms were not disclosed.

Faces in the News

Robert Stravitz is the new vice president of marketing for Valvolines Do-It- For-Me and distributor sales group, including responsibility for contract distributors, national accounts and direct market operations. He most recently was with Del Monte Foods, and also has prior experience with Clorox and Intuit.

Houston-based lubricant distributor and service provider ORourke Petroleum has promoted Mushahid Khan to president and chief operating officer, and named Alan Cain vice president of business development. Khan joined the company three years ago, and has served it as general manager, during which time the company enjoyed doubledigit growth in profitability, it says.

Cains roles at the company have ranged from business development to sales operations and administration.

Brookfield Engineering Laboratories, maker of viscometers, rheometers and laboratory and process instrumentation, has named Joe Moi vice president of international business development. Moi has been with the company for 18 years, and most recently managed Brookfield Viscometers Ltd. in the U.K.

Lintech International, the Macon, Ga., specialty chemical distribution company, has named Stan Trzcinski to cover sales to the lubricant, metalworking and other industries in the Southeastern states of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and eastern Tennessee.

The Society for Mainenance and Reliability Professionals, based in Knoxville, Tenn., has tapped Patrick E. Winters as its first executive director. Winter, a Certified Association Executive, has extensive experience in association management, including with the Building Owners and Managers Association.

Gulf Oil International in the U.K. has named Anthony Perlman as brand and marketing manager. His prior oil industry experience includes work at Total and Kuwait Petroleum, and his marketing skills have also been applied in clinical publishing, a company offering weight loss programs, and for the Formula 1 Grand Prix office in Adelaide, Australia.

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