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Oryx Project on Hold

Sasol Chevrons proposed base oil plant at the Oryx refinery in Ras Laffan, Qatar will not be the worlds first large-scale source of gas-to-liquids base oils. The company recently disclosed that it has set no timetable for the base oil plant that was originally slated to open in early 2009. Although a Chevron official acknowledged that the Ras Laffan plant may not be built, he insisted that the joint venture is determined to build a GTL base oil plant somewhere. The Oryx postponement makes a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and Qatar Petroleum the only specific GTL base oil project that is currently moving forward.

ARG Adds Hydrotreater

American Refining Group last month installed two catalytic reactors at its Bradford, Pa., lubricants and fuels refinery. ARGs $18 million hydrotreater project, under construction since early 2006, is expected to start production in January 2008 with capacity of 3,800 barrels per day. One of the reactors installed last month is dedicated to processing lubricant base stocks, while the other will process diesel and distillate solvents.

Neste Loses Lease at Laajasalo

Neste Oil will close a lubricant blending plant in Helsinki by the end of 2009. The city has informed the company that it will not renew the lease and plans to rezone the property for residential use. Based in Espoo, Finland, Neste leases the site – Nestes only lubricant blending facility, known as the Laajasalo plant – from Helsinki through a contract that expires at the end of 2010. The company must cease operations a year earlier to allow time to demolish its buildings and perform any necessary clean-up.

HQ Fire at Warrenton Oil

Afire inside a warehouse at Warrenton Oil Co. in Truesdale, Mo., on Thursday, Sept. 13 burned down the lubricant and fuel distributors corporate offices and storage facility and injured two firefighters. According to fire Chief Michael Owenby of the Warrenton Fire Department, it has been determined that a small electrical fire in the computer room touched off the large-scale fire inside the facility. No employees were inside the buildings at the time of the incident.

Petronas Group III Plant Delayed

Material shortages and equipment delivery delays have slowed construction work on Petronas new API Group III base oil refinery in Melaka, Malaysia, but the company still hopes to bring the plant online in 2008. The Petronas Melaka Group III base oil refinery is expected to have capacity to produce 270,000 metric tons per year of API Group III base oils and another 70,000 t/y of Group II. According to a company official, the company is troubleshooting all problems and stepping up the pace of construction so that the refinery will be fully operational within 2008.

Bel-Ray Signs Danish Distributor

Bel-Ray Co. Inc., Farmingdale, N.J., recently announced that Socko Teknik will serve a its distributor of general industrial and No-Tox food grade lubricant products in the Danish industrial and food processing markets. According to Bel-Rays European sales manager, Ian Bowmer, Bel-Ray has worked in the Danish market before but had been without a distributor there for 18 months. Socko Teknik is a young and ambitious partner who has a vastly experienced sales team that are very keen to develop and grow the Bel-Ray brand in Denmark, he said.

Shell, Suzuki Sign Deal

Suzuki Motors Corp. has signed a long-term agreement to use Shell lubricants and oils exclusively in vehicles manufactured at two Suzuki automotive plants in Kosai and Iwata, Japan. Suzuki vehicles manufactured from July 2007 at the plants will use Shell Helix oil in their engines and have a Suzuki-Shell label under the engine hood as a symbol of the joint partnership. The recent announcement extends an alliance formed last year between the two companies, where cars produced at Suzukis automotive manufacturing plant in Esztergom, Hungary, were also fitted with the Suzuki-Shell label.

Degussa Now Evonik

RAG Beteiligungs-AG, parent of Dusseldorf, Germany-based chemical maker Degussa, changed its name to Evonik Industries AG Sept. 12 as part of its preparations to conduct a public stock offering next year. Degussa will serve as the name of Evoniks chemicals business for an undetermined period, and the company will use both names on advertisements and promotions during that time, but the Degussa name will be eliminated after a transition period. In contrast, management intends to keep the RohMax Oil Additives name, although Evonik will precede it.

ExMo Exits Central Europe Markets

The European Commission recently granted its clearance to Italian refiner Enis acquisition of ExxonMobils lubricant businesses in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The acquisition was part of a deal that included ExxonMobils fuel retail operations in those countries. The companies first informed the commission of their agreement in June. On July 24, the commission announced its decision not to contest the transaction, concluding that it would not impede effective competition in lubricants or other markets where the ExxonMobil businesses participate. The businesses – Esso Hungaria, Esso Ceska and Esso Slovensko – have a combined 102 fuel stations in the three countries. Niether ExxonMobil nor Eni disclosed terms of the purchase.

Valvoline Targets DIFM Market

Recent partnerships with retailer Sears and Group 1 Automotive, a Houston-based chain of automotive dealerships, have grown Valvolines presence in the do-it-for-me oil change business. In early September, there was news that Sears would offer Valvoline as its primary brand for motor oil changes at more than 850 of its auto center locations. Then came word that Valvoline products would be phased into all of Group 1s 99 U.S. Dealerships. Valvoline has emphasized major accounts and dealer groups for volume growth, said John Scanlon, national accounts director at Ashland Co., Valvolines parent company. Said Valvoline President Sam Mitchell, watch for more of these premium partnerships on the DIFM side.

Lubrizol Buys Fridge Lubes

Lubrizol Corp. purchased Croda Internationals refrigeration lubricants business last month for 62 million pounds (U.S. $124.9 million). Croda had acquired the business when it bought Uniqema from ICI in 2006. Lubrizols acquisition includes Crodas polyol ester and alkyl benzene refrigeration lubricant technology, Emkarate and Icematic brand names, customer lists, manufacturing know-how and complementary intellectual property. No manufacturing facilities were included in the transaction

PetroLiance Adds AV Lubricants

PetroLiance LLC, formed in June 2006 through consolidation of four of the nations largest ExxonMobil distributors, acquired Columbus, Ohiobased AV Lubricants Inc. Sept. 1. AV Lubricants, also an ExxonMobil distributor, provides lubricants to the aviation industry and to mining operations in Ohio, Kentucky and neighboring states. PetroLiance Chief Executive Officer Kevin McCarter said that AV Lubricants expertise in several key specialized offroad lubricants markets will greatly benefit PetroLiance. Likewise, AV Lubricants founder and Chief Executive Officer George Morrison said PetroLiances significant resources will benefit our customers and employees. It truly is a synergistic combination.

Intertek Acquires Carnot

Lab services giant Intertek last month acquired Carnot Emission Services of San Antonio, Texas, an independent emissions testing organization. In August, Intertek, headquarted in London, bought U.K.-based Measurement Science Group from ICI. Since mid- 2005, Intertek has become a significant player in lubricant testing, with its purchases of LQS, Parc Technical Services and PerkinElmers Automotive Research Laboratory.

Oxiteno Opens in New Jersey

Oxiteno, a South American manufacturer of surfactants and chemical intermediates, has opened a commercial office in Freehold, N.J. Oxitenos major lines of business include ethylene oxide and derivatives, consisting of ethylene glycols, ethanolamines, surfactants, solvents and specialty chemicals. Ethylene oxide is a building block, ethylene glycol is widely used as an automotive antifreeze and ethanolamines are used as intermediates in production of lubricant additives and metalworking fluids. New Jersey was an appealing location because many chemical companies have corporate or research offices there, according to Oxiteno USA LLC general manager Neil Burns. The Freehold, N.J., office is a startup operation with plans to gradually grow.

Printing More Labels, Faster

Label supplier Custom Printed Products, Bossier City, La., has installed two new 10-color Flexo presses to increase capacity and reduce lead times at its Louisiana plant. It also has purchased digital plate-making equipment and time-saving software for both its Bossier and Edinburg, Va., plants. The company reports record sales in its last fiscal year and is adding a total of 12 new staff at its two facilities. Custom Printed Products supplies the lubricants industry with a variety of labels including rolled film and in-mold labels for containers ranging in size from one quart to 55 gallon drums, as well as offering inventory management programs.

Faces in the News

Effective Sept. 1, Tom Releford retired, and George Andt has taken over as global sales director for base stocks at ExxonMobil.

Michael J. Kozminski was recently hired to fill the newly created position of manager R&D at Bradford, Pa.-based American Refining Group, Inc. Kozminski will be responsible for technical support to refinery operations as well as administrative functions of the R&D lab. He began his career in 1991 as a research and development chemist for Witco Corp., and then worked for International Waxes.

John Kirk has been named North America regional account manager at Chevron Oronite in San Ramon, Calif. Kirk was previously previously supply chain manager for Chevron Global Lubricants in Canada.

Dunn, N.C.-based Warren Oil Co. Inc. has appointed Garry D. Rooney as senior vice president for commercial and industrial lubricants as well as corporate counselor. Rooney will develop and manage a national bulk lubricant program and be responsible for developing a supporting national accounts program. He has previously served as president of North American Lubricants Co., 76 Lubricants Co. and the Kendall Motor Oil Co.

Damian Kelly is the new home care and functional specialities marketing manager at Edison, N.J.-based Croda Inc. Kelly will market to the household, industrial and institutional markets. He started with Croda Chemicals Europe in 2001 and most recently was a business development manager for Latin America.

PCC Chemax, Inc. announces the promotion of Denise Cooper to vice president, industry and product development. Cooper has been with Chemax since 1983, most recently as product manager for surfactants and R&D technician for metals.

John Ekes is the new Midwest region OEM manager at Digilube Systems Inc., a Springboro, Ohio, supplier of lubricant technologies and lubricant dispensing systems. Ekes was founder of Advantage Technical Services LLC, an engineering, consulting and sales organization.

New York-based Industrial Enterprises of America, Inc. has tapped Jorge Yepes as chief financial officer. Yepes previously served as vice president of finance for Avery Dennison and a director of finance for the Clorox Company.

Tami Chatwood has been promoted to national account representative for Precision IBC, Inc., based at its Fairhope, Ala., facility. She previously held the position of packaging consultant. Prior to joining Precision in 2001, Chatwood served as a rental representative at Hoover Material Handling Group.

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