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Oil Risk Prompts Nissan Recall

Nissan North America last month prepared to order a recall of nearly 85,000 new sedans because of reports of excessive motor oil consumption which can lead to overheating and engine fires. The recall applies to four-cylinder Altimas and Nissan Setra SE-Rs built between January and May of this year, most of which have already been purchased by U.S. customers. Others are still on dealers lots or have been shipped to Mexico and Canada.

Nissan told the U.S. National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration that the problem is due to improper performance of the piston rings. It has replaced parts linked to the problem so vehicles now coming off its assembly line are not at risk. On June 7, it mailed notices to all purchasers to check their oil level every 700 miles (about every second fill-up with gasoline) and to immediately add oil and take the vehicle to a Nissan dealer if no oil registers on the dipstick.

Because many motorists today seldom look under their hoods, the notices included directions on how to find the dipsticks.

U.S. Issues Biobased Rules

Rules to promote government procurement of biobased products, as required by the 2002 Farm Bill, emerged recently from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The first group of items designated by USDA to be accorded preference in all federal purchases includes mobile equipment hydraulic fluids and penetrating lubricants. The final rule, published in the March 16 Federal register, sets thresholds for the biobased content of these products. To qualify for the preferred procurement status, the minimum biobased content for mobile equipment hydraulic fluids must be 44 percent, and for penetrating lubricants 68 percent. Details at

Ciba to Make Additives in China

Ciba Specialty Chemicals last month announced a deal with Jiangsu Feiya Chemical Co. Ltd., Nantong, China, to construct a new plant near Shanghao to manufacture alkylated diphenylamines for use as antioxidants in lubricant applications. Jiangsu Feiya will build the facility and manufacture the products using Cibas proprietary process technology. Ciba will market all products manufactured, selling them under its Irganox tradename. The plant is expected to commence production in the fourth quarter of 2006. The capacity of the facility was not disclosed.

The market demand for technologically advanced lubricants for automotive and industrial applications continues to increase with the growth of the Asia Pacific region, said Thomas Englehardt, global head of Cibas lubricant additives business. The collaboration with Jiangsu Feiya is designed to meet this demand, and demonstrates Cibas commitment to the global lubricant industry, he added.

Cognis Expanding Again

Cognis Deutschland GmbH announced last month a multi-phase project to expand its capacity to make synthetic esters at its factory in Cincinnati. The company uses the esters as base stocks in transmission and axle lubricants marketed primarily for heavy-duty trucks. Cognis, headquartered in Dusseldorf, Germany, did not disclose the cost or size of the project, the first phase of which will begin with a debottlenecking of the factorys largest esterifier and is due to the complete in the first quarter 2007.

We intend to secure our place in the supply chain of the synthetic lubricants and agricultural markets, said Jeff Kublak, ester plant manager. By optimizing the esterifiation process we decrease cycle time and increase efficiency, which increases our competitiveness. Phase one will also involve removal of older equipment to allow for further expansion.

Cognis is a global supplier of specialty chemicals derived from plant oils and sold to industries such as lubricants, food, cosmetics and detergents. Part of the Cincinnati facilities occupied by Cognis Oleochemicals, which processes crops and animal fats into oleochemicals, some of which are used by Cognis as raw materials for its specialty chemicals.

This marks the second capital investment for Cincinnati lately. In late April the company said it will spend $20 million to install new boilers to power the plant.

April also marked the opening of Cognis new production plant in China for the manufacture of polyol esters for the refrigeration and air conditioning industries. The 6 million plant in Jinshan, near Shanghai, will make ProEco brand polyol esters. Product from the plant is marketed in China, Korea, India and other countries by Japan Sun Oil, Cognis exclusive marketing partner in the Asia-Pacific region.

Makeover for Caltex

A year after dropping Texaco from its corporate identity, Chevron Corp. is renaming subsidiaries that operate under the Caltex monlker. Subsidiaries in eight countries in the Asia-Pacific region have already adopted the Chevron name, so the parent company can present the same face wherever it operates. All the companies will display the newly redesigned Chevron logo, as well. Caltex New Zealand completed the change in May, and so have subsidiaries in Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Those in China, Cambodia, Laos and India are expected to do so later this year.

Although not part of the company nameplate, Caltex will live on as a brand. Chevron will continue marketing lubricants and other products under the Caltex brand, along with other flags such as Havoline, Delo and StarMart. Caltex was created in 1936 as a joint venture between Chevron and Texaco and became part of what is now Chevron when Chevron acquired Texaco in 2001.

Ukraine Hosts Conference

Lubricants 2006, the ninth international scientific and technical conference organized by the company AMZOL, will be held Sept. 4 to 8 in Berdyansk, Ukraine. The program covers a wide spectrum of topics, ranging from lubricant and additive research, production and applications to equipment needs and market outlook. Official conference languages are Ukrainian, Russian and English. Registration fee is U.S. $400, and includes conference documents and proceedings, meals, and participation in entertainment events. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For information or to register, contact: JSC AMZOL, 2 Shaumyan Str., Berdyansk 71114, Zaporozhye Region, Ukraine. Phone: 38-06153-38420. Email:

Simons Says Buy

SPI Petroleum LLC, a nationwide independent marketer of petroleum products, continues on its buying spree. Last month it acquired the assets and business operations of McLain Truck Service, Inc., a regional petroleum marketer headquartered in Midland, Texas. Founded by Tommy McLain in the 1970s, McLain provides refined products to commercial and industrial accounts throughout the region. It will operate as a division of Simons Petroleum Inc., SPIs operating company, and provides SPI additional physical infrastructure for the service of drilling and exploration companies in the very active west Texas and New Mexico market.

In April 2004 SPI announced its goal of becoming the largest oil jobber in the United States. It is close to meeting that goal, company spokesman Janet Schisser told the online newsletter Lube Report, and additional companies are targeted for acquisition.

ExMo Jobbers Join Forces

Four ExxonMobile distributors spanning the Midwest and Southeast have merged to become one of the largest lubricant distributors in the United States. Officials with newly formed PetroLiance LLC said the union is part of an industry trend toward consolidation which has seen the number of independent companies distributing petroleum products un the United States shrink by two thirds since the late 1960s.

The company will be lead by Kevin McCarter, who comes to PetroLiance with Boncosky Oil Co. of Elgin, Ill. Joining it are Cleveland-based Commercial Ullman Lubricants Co.; Lubricant Technologies LLC, Cary, N.C.; and Young Oil Co., of Pompano Beach, Fla. Together they claim annual sales revenues of nearly $300 million.

Albemarle, MidContinental Team Up

Albemarle Corp., the Richmond, VA., specialty chemical company has signed MidContinental Cheical Co. as its new distributor of Ethanox-branded antioxidants for the North American lubricant and fuel markets. Overland Park, Kansas-based MidContinental Chemical also markets additives from Chevron Oronite and synthetic lubricant base stocks from ExxonMobil Chemical.


The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will place a historical marker at American Refining Groups Bradford refinery site, hailing it as the oldest continuously operated refinery in the United States. The marker will be dedicated at a special ceremony Sept. 9, as part of a weekend of festivities that are open to the public to celebrate the refinerys founding 125 years ago. Details:

ExxonMobil Chemicals Baton Rouge, La., polyolefins plant has won the NPRA Distinguished Safety Award for the fourth consecutive year. Since the safety award program began in 1982, no other company has won the award four years in a row. Also winning the 2005 Distinguished Safety Award, which is based on a rigorous review of safety programs and performance, was Marathon Petroleums refinery in Catlettsburg, Ky.

Cannon Instrument Co.s Kenneth O. Henderson has become chairman of ASTM Committee D-2 on Petroleum Products and Lubricants, the largest committee in the standards-setting organization. D-2 includes 1.500 industry professionals and experts who are responsible for 60 standards.

Hoping for Moly?

Idaho General Mines Inc. last month said it has filed a plan of operations with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, a key step in realizing its Mount Hope molybdenum project in Nevada. Mount Hope is one of the largest molybdenum-porphyry deposits in the world and, once in operation, the project will be the first large-scale, high-grade molybdenum mine placed in production in the United States in over 20 years.

Molybdenum is used as a solid lubricant, a lubricant and grease additive, a catalyst in petroleum refining, and in the steel and stainless industries. Moly consumption has been growing at an average rate of more than 5 percent per year for the past 16 years, according to Idaho General Mines. The current tight market has pushed the price for moly over $25 per pound, but permitting for the Mount Hope project may take up to two years with another 20 months needed to construct the open-pit mine and build plants.

Faces in the News

Alen Whetten has been named director of research and development for Angus Chemical Co., the DOW Chemical subsidiary. His charge includes running the global Angus R&D and technical services organization, and developing products, processes and applications of its nitroalkene based chemistries. Whetten joined Dow in 1984.

Marc van Gerwen is the new global business director, antioxidants and UV stabilizers, at Chemtura Corp. Based in Freuenfeld, Switzerland, Chemturas European commercial center, he previously was with Crompton Corp., Chemturas predecessor company.

Shoaib Arif has joined Pilot Chemical Co. as manager, technical services and applications chemistry. Based in Sharonville, Ohio, he comes to Pilot from Noveon, after earlier positions with Degussa Goldschmidt Chemical, Witco and Olin.

Gail Reedy, formerly of Citgo, has joined Lithcon Petroleum as manager of operations. Also, Elizabeth Fields, formerly of Ashland Inc., has joined Lithcon as marketing manager, base oil. Both positions will focus on the distribution and marketing of base oils from South Koreas SK Corp.

Wulan Gerile is now global sourcing manager for Acme-Hardesty Co., responsible for sourcing, negotiating and purchasing products for the Blue Bell, Pa., distributor of oleochemicals and derivatives. She joined the firm in 2005, after experience with Roxcel Corp. and Unisource International.

Houghton International Inc. has added Donald Schuster to its vibratory operations chemicals marketing group, in the position of senior process engineer. Formerly with Tetra Mold & Tool, his main focus is growing market share for Houghtons new MicroSurfacing Technology, which serves lapping and honing operations.

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