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Innovene Sold to Ineos

BP last month said it will sell Innovene, its olefins, derivatives and refining subsidiary, to the U.K. chemical company Ineos. The $9 billion cash sale includes all of Innovenes manufacturing sites, markets and technologies, and will make Ineos the fourth-largest independent petrochemical company in the world. BP expects the sale to be completed in early 2006, subject to regulatory approvals.

BP first said it would divest its olefins and derivatives business in April 2004. This summer, it filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of Innovene stock, but the deal struck with Ineos will be better for stockholders, company officials said.

Innovene, created as a BP subsidiary in April 2005, has 8,000 employees; $18 billion in revenues in 2004; $13 billion in assets; and a pretax profit of $700 million in first-half 2005. Among its many operations are a large presence in the synthetic lubricants market. It manufactures polyalpha-olefin at plants in La Porte, Texas, and Feluy, Belgium; esters in Barry, U.K.; and polyisobutene in Lavera, France and Whiting, Ind.

PetroChina Upgrading Naphthenics

P etroChina will install a second naphthenic hydroprocessing unit at its base oil plant in Karamay, China, an official told the Asia-Pacific Base Oil Conference sponsored by F&L Asia. The Karamay facility is the companys largest naphthenic base oil plant, with capacity to make 500,000 metric tons per year. Half of that is already hydroprocessed through an existing unit, and the new unit will treat the remaining amount.

The project is scheduled to stream in 2008, the companys Liu Zhongda told the September conference. He added that China needs to increase both the volume and the quality of the base oil it produces. With annual capacity to make 4.8 million tons of base oil, the countrys exanding appetite for lubes led it to import 1.2 million metric tons of base oils in 2004, he said, 43 percent more than the previous year. At the same time, base oil exports (mostly naphthenics) fell 52 percent to just 45,000 tons, as internal needs grew.

Faces in the News

Naveen Gupta has been tapped by Valvoline International for the new position of director of global heavy duty, OEM and emerging markets, directing both sales to original equipment manufacturers and Valvolines heavy-duty business worldwide. Gupta will relocate from New Delhi to Valvolines home in Lexington, Ky., and will retain his post as managing director of Valvoline Cummins Ltd., the 50/50 Valvoline/Cummins joint venture in India he has headed since 1998.

Lewis M. Kling has been elected president and CEO of Flowserve Corp., the supplier of fluid control products and services. He joined the Dallas-based company in 2004 as chief operating officer, after more than 35 years with companies such as General Electric, SPX and Allied Signal.

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.

Rexam has named Todd Mathes general manager of closures and containers, responsible for the packaging suppliers strategic management as well as day-to-day operations of its three manufacturing facilities. He began his career with Rexam in 1989.

Ted Clucas is the new president of FKI Logistex Manufacturing Systems North America, succeeding Dave Baker, who is now CFO for the St. Louis, Mo., company. Clucas has been with the materials handling technologies company for 17 years.

Nippon Oil Breaks Ground

Nippon Oil Corp. broke ground Sept. 20 on its first U.S. lube blending plant – a facility in Childersburg, Ala., due to open next August. Initial capacity will be for 38,000 kiloliters of lubricants and 800 metric tons of grease.

Japans largest oil company, Nippon Oil has a sales office in Chicago and has sold lubes to Japanese car companies in the United States since 1980. The new plants production, said Masaki Henry Hasegawa, president of Nippon Oil Lubricants America LLC, is targeted to factories in the region operated by Asian automakers, including Honda, Hyundai and Toyota. It will make engine oils, ATF and other automotive fluids, plus industrial lubricants. The company also expects soon to introduce the Eneos brand it uses in Japan and elsewhere to the United States.

Growing Streicher Buys H&W

Streicher Mobil Fueling agreed in September to buy H&W Petroleum, one of the nations largest lubricant distributors. Based in Houston, H&W has annual revenues of more than $51 million, and specializes in serving companies requiring large volumes of specialty industrial oils, motor oils, gear lubes, and greases. Its principal brands include ExxonMobil and Texaco.

This is the second lube-related buy this year for Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., based Streicher, which in February bought Houston distributor Shank Services. Streicher in the past had focused on selling fuels and fuels management services to vehicle and equipment fleets, but margins in lubricants are better than fuels, and some of the majors are not paying as much attention to [lubricants] as they should,

Streicher Chairman and CEO Richard E. Gathright told e-newsletter www.LubeReport.com. We just think its a business that is ripe for consolidation and a good business to be in.

He also said H&W will retain its identity, and that H&Ws E. W. Wetzel has agreed to stay on long-term as president and chief operating officer. To pay for the acquisition and provide working capital, Streicher arranged a $3 million private debt placement.

Total Snags African Assets

With an eye to expansion, Paris-based Total has agreed to buy ExxonMobils lubricants and fuels business in 14 African countries, for an undisclosed amount. The deal covers ExxonMobil affiliates that sell lubes, motor fuels, aviation and marine products in Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

ExxonMobil remains a heavy-weight in Africa, however, selling fuels and lubes in another 30 of the continents countries. These operations are four times the size of what it sold, it pointed out.

Michigan Lube Outlet Opens

Melvindale, Mich., is home to a new 200,000 sq.ft. Lubricant and tire distribution center, opened by Chevron lubricant distributor Shrader Tire and Oil Co. Shrader also operates bulk oil facilities in Ohio and Indiana, and this new facility is already storing more than 250,000 gallons of lubricants, the Toledo, Ohio, company said. It boasts 28 oil tanks ranging in size from 8,000 to 12,000 gallons, over a mile of internal piping, and computer-monitored dispensing. Cost of the new facility was not disclosed.

Lubrizol Sells Equipment Unit

Lubrizol has sold the assets of its U.S. and U.K. Lubrizol Performance Systems operations to Delft Instruments B.V. The operation will be renamed Enraf Fluid Technology.

Lubrizol Performance Systems had annual sales of approximately $20 million, and sold precision metering devices. Terms of the sale were not disclosed. This is Lubrizols first divestiture since it announced its intent in July to market non-core businesses. Other units it hopes to sell include a foam control business, an emissions control business, and the food ingredients and industrial specialties operations of Noveon Corp., the chemical company it acquired in 2004.

Contracts Inked

ExxonMobil has reached a new five-year agreement to supply finished lubes to Caterpillar Inc. The oil giant has been a private-label supplier to the construction and mining equipment and heavy-duty engine manufacturer since 1987, and will be exclusive supplier of 30 types of lubes to Caterpillar factories and dealers worldwise…

Bahrain Petroleum Co. will install Chevron Lumus Globals trade-marked Isodewaxing and Isofinishing technology and catalysts in the new Group III lube base oil plant it is building in Bahrain. The 7,700-barrel-a-day base oil plant, a joint venture with Finlands Neste Oil, is due to stream in first-half 2008, and will get its feedstock from a low-sulfur diesel hydrocracker project at the site. The hydrocracker project, due onstream in mid-2007, also will use CLG technology and catalysts…

Haas TCM has signed a three-year agreement to provide chemical management services to Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. Under the agreement, Haas TCM will source, procure and manage the supply chain for bulk chemicals and industrial gases used at PG&Es Diablo Canyon Power Plant – bringing to four the number of nuclear power plants the company services.

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