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Group III Plant Planned in Abu Dhabi

Takreer, Neste Oil and OMV have formed a joint venture to build a plant to produce about 10,000 barrels per day of sulfur-free, very high viscosity index API Group III base oil in Ruwais, Abu Dhabi. The joint venture will be owned 60 percent by Abu Dhabis Takreer and 20 percent each by Finland-based Neste Oil and Austrias OMV. Their agreement covers basic principles for the design, construction and operation of the base oil facility, and the commercial terms of the project, and front-end engineering design is expected by the second quarter of this year.

The geographic location for the venture is attractive, as exports to all main consuming markets can be implemented efficiently from there, said Matti Lehmus, Nestes vice president, base oils. The j.v. plans to market the base oils where Group III product demand is highest.

ELM Relocates

Nine months after a fire destroyed its biobased lubricants blending plant in Plainfield, Iowa, Environmental Lubricants Manufacturing has a new home in Cedar Falls. In the aftermath of the March 20 blaze, the soy-based lubricant manufacturer set up a temporary office in Plainfield and shifted lubricants blending to a facility in Waterloo, Iowa. It now has moved to a more stable production facility, said ELM Chairman and co-founder Lou Honary, with a one-year lease.

Alan Burgess, ELMs newly named technical manager, said, The new facility is more centrally located and will blend the companys large array of biobased lubricants and specialty products. Burgess joined ELM at its inception in 2000 and had served as production manager. In his new position, he is responsible for guiding product development and improvement activities.

Regarding ELMs future, Honary added that the goal is ultimately trying to acquire, be acquired or merge with another manufacturer.

Lube Sales Tick Down

Total U.S. lubricant sales volumes in the third quarter of 2007 edged down 1.5 percent overall compared to the same period in 2006, according to the Quarterly Index of Lubricant Sales released last month by the National Petro-chemical & Refiners Association. Volumes fell across all but one major sector of the market. That exception was process oils, which rose 5 percent in the third quarter, compared to 2006s third quarter. The automotive segment slid 2.3 percent; industrial lubes declined 3.9 percent; and lubricating grease sales volumes fell a whopping 8 percent versus third-quarter 2006.

NPRA emphasizes that its quarterly reports should be used as a gauge of market trends, rather than a total sales measurement, because few marketers participate. The reports are indexed to the base year 2002, and also include Department of Energy data on refinery production of lubricants and wax. To order the QUILS report, visit

Delfin Pays $20M for Chevron Site

Delfin Group USA, a division of Moscow-based Delfin Group Russia, has acquired a 41.7-acre North Charleston, S.C., industrial site from Chevron for $20 million. According to the Charleston Regional Business Journal, Delfin plans to ship various lubricating oils to the facility for blending, bottling and sale in both domestic and overseas markets, with operations expected to start this month. The site, encompassing 290,000 sq.ft. of space within 11 buildings, has easy access to rail and shipping. Hagood Morrison, director of industrial brokerage for Colliers Keenan Inc., said that Chevron approved the sale because of Delfins good reputation and its ability to close on the deal by years end.

Growth Forecast for Gears

U.S. demand for gears is forecast to increase 3.3 percent annually to total $29.3 billion in 2011, according to Gears, a new study from the Cleveland-based research firm Freedonia Group Inc. The study finds the best prospects for growth will come from the aerospace industry, which is expected to post the fastest advances through 2011, spurred in part by regional jet and helicopter production. This rebound will especially benefit spiral bevel gears, the study says.

The motor vehicle industry, constituting 80 percent of current gear demand, is forecast to expand 3.3 percent per annum to nearly $24 billion, due in part to light truck production and also due to the aftermarket needs of heavy motor vehicles, which saw a strong upturn in sales from 2004 to 2006. For machinery markets, the study says overall gear demand will slow in response to decelerating machinery shipments through 2011.

The 200-page study costs $4,400. For information, visit

Total Takes Tribospec

French oil major Total acquired the assets of Tribospec Corp., an independent Canadian lubricants blender and distributor based in Montreal, for an undisclosed amount in early December. A new joint venture named Total Lubricants Canada Inc., owned 70 percent by Total and 30 percent by Tribospecs major share-holder (company president Julian Cininni) was formed. Tribospec sells 10,000 tons of lubricants yearly and can blend up to 35,000 t/y. It has a 70,000 sq.ft. plant in LaSalle, Quebec, and claims to have about 8 percent of the lubricants market in that province.

Moly Mine to Reopen

Climax Molybdenums mine in the Colorado Rockies is slated to resume operations, driven by growing demand in China for use in steel, but also benefiting the grease and lubricants industry. Major construction will begin in spring, with production set to start in 2010. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., Climaxs parent, will invest $500 million to restart open pit mining and construct new mills at the mine near Leadville, Colo. It expects annual production there to reach approximately 30 million pounds of moly in 2010. Another source said the per-pound price of molybdenum oxide has gone from $3 to $30 over the last two years, due to strong demand and short supply.

Dow Adds Amines Unit

Dow Chemicals new integrated specialty alkanolamines facility in Plaquemine, La., has passed all design tests and is now fully operational. This is the only North American facility producing both alkyl alkanolamine and isopropanolamine products, Dow said, although it did not disclose the new plants capacity. Alkyl alkanolamines are used in various additives and lubricants, including pour point depressants, emulsifiers, soluble oils and extreme-pressure products. Isopropanolamines are used in water based metalworking fluids to protect against corrosion and improve lubricity.

Briefly Noted

The McPherson Companies, parent of McPherson Oil Products, has purchased the College Park, Ga., distribution facility of BP Castrol Heavy Duty Lubricants. McPherson, which has leased and operated the facility since June 2006, said it will invest $3 million in the facility and move its Georgia regional distribution center to there in the second quarter.

Chemical manufacturer Oxea is increasing production capacity up to 50 percent for neopentylglycol and carboxylic acids, to meet growing global demand. Carboxylic acids are mainly used in high-performance lubricants; NPG is used in making synthetic lubricants. The company said it plans to continue ramping up NPG capacity at its facilities in Oberhausen, Germany.

SPI Petroleum LLCs Maxum Petroleum subsidiary has acquired fuel and lubes distributor Paulson Oil Co. for just under $20 million. Paulson Oil Co. is headquartered in Chesterton, Ind., about 40 miles from Chicago. It services Indiana, Illinois and Michigan with lube brands including Citgo, Shell, Pennzoil and Quaker State. The deal marked Maxums 11th acquisition.

Faces in the News

Michael Rihovsky has been named regional sales director for Nynas in the Americas, based in Houston. Hell lead the companys operations in North and South America, and most recently held a similar post at Nynas office in Stockholm, Sweden.

The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association in Washington, D.C., has elected Charles Drevna to serve as its president. Drevna joined NPRA in 2002, and previously was its executive vice president.

Tom Downing has joined Lambent Technologies as national sales manager. He brings 18 years of sales and marketing experience to the Gurnee, Ill.-based specialty chemical and lubricants company. Lambent also

hired Gary Kudwitt as regional sales manager for industrial markets in the U.S. Northeast.

Finlands Neste Oil has appointed new executive vice presidents to three divisions, and created a new specialty products division that includes production and sale of base oils and gasoline components. The company appointed Kimmo Rahkamo as executive vice president of the new specialty products division; Jorma Haavisto as executive vice president, oil refining; and Sakari Toivola as executive vice president, oil retail. Martti Ronkainen is the new vice president for the Porvoo refinery and effective Jan. 1, Miika Eerola became vice president for the Naantali refinery.

Phil Korosec, technical director of MidContinental Chemical Co., Overland Park, Kans., has joined the Detroit Advisory Panel of the American Petroleum Institute. The panel is APIs key link to on-road OEMs for lubricants, fuels and vehicle servicing.

Kline & Co. has named Fred du Plessis senior vice president of Kline Europe. He will direct the consultancys activities in that region from a new European headquarters in Oxford, U.K. Du Plessis has more than 25 years of global business and consulting experience, including more than 16 years with Sasol.

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