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Citgo to Unplug Lake Charles

Citgo will cease production at its Lakes Charles, La., base oil and wax refinery during the upcoming months, and may consider selling the facility, according to a Citgo Lake Charles spokesperson. The company already informed customers that it planned to reduce production at the refinery – which has 9,500 barrels per day of API Group I base oil capacity and about 2,000 b/d of wax capacity – to concentrate on its finished lubricants business. Any purchase order for base oil, process oil or wax placed with Citgo is now subject to review by sales management prior to acceptance. Closing the Lake Charles plant is expected to reduce U.S. Group I capacity by 12 percent.

GM Pounds 3,000-Mile Myth

General Motors has joined Californias 3,000 Mile Myth campaign to educate drivers on reducing motor oil consumption by following their automakers recommended oil drain intervals. The campaign, designed to bust the myth that drivers should change their oil every 3,000 miles, was started in response to research showing that 73 percent of California drivers change their oil more frequently than their vehicles manufacturer recommends. The auto giants GM Oil Life System, a computer-based software algorithm that extends oil changes to up to 10,000 miles depending on operating conditions, is now equipped in 2.5 million California GM vehicles, and 31 million vehicles nationally.

Quick Lubes Urge Maintenance

The Dallas-based Automotive Oil Change Association is launching three media campaigns for its quick-lube members, reminding consumers of the importance of regular vehicle maintenance and used oil stewardship. The first campaign, coming this summer, reminds drivers that better driving habits and regular car maintenance can improve gas mileage. The goal is to combat a perceived trend for consumers to delay maintenance in the face of $4 per gallon gasoline. The second campaign, rolling out this fall, will explain the difference between severe and normal driving regimes and what they mean for oil change intervals. The third message will address groundwater protection, and how it can be helped if engine oil is changed at a fast-lube center.

The campaigns will include press releases, e-mails, print ads and Internet banners for use by AOCA member companies.

ADM Plows into Lubes

Agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland has entered the lubricants business, taking a minority share position in BioBlend Renewable Resources. BioBlend offers ADM the opportunity to add value to our existing products and, as we grow our product portfolio, to use BioBlends unique distribution and marketing platform to the expanding renewable lubricant market, Janet Mann, ADMs general manager for industrial chemicals, told Lube Report. Relying on toll blenders and blending lubricants at its own Joliet, Ill., facility, BioBlend plans to create and supply a national network of distributors carrying vegetable-based industrial lubricants.

Chevron Rebranding Begins

Chevron will begin transitioning from its current dual-branded – Chevron and Texaco – commercial and industrial lubricants, to a single line under the Chevron name in the United States and Canada. The change, which rolls out July 14, will not affect Chevron Delo, Texaco Havoline or Texaco Xpress Lube, nor Texaco retail or consumer lubricants.

The goal is to have a single, comprehensive commercial and industrial lubricant portfolio under the Chevron banner, using the best from both stables of products, said Vince Kyle, Chevron general manager for North American finished lubricants. Among the gains will be streamlined production and inventories, less redundancy in the product line-up, and easier marketing. The commercial or industrial lube with the greatest market value will be the brand name that remains under the Chevron master brand, he added. For example, Texaco Ursa Super Plus EC 15W-40 diesel engine oil will replace Chevron RPM LE, and then be rebranded as Chevron Ursa Super Plus EC. More details are promised as the transition progresses.

Quaker Sets $20M Expansion

Quaker Chemical plans to invest $19.8 million to triple manufacturing capacity at its Middletown, Ohio, plant and centralize production of its rolling oils, rust preventives, cleaners and hydraulic fluids. With construction slated to begin this summer and expected to be complete late next year, Quaker will transfer all production except metalworking fluids from its older plant in Detroit to Middletown. The Middletown plant will become Quakers second-largest facility; it currently employs 40 and is expected to double that when the expansion is finished.

Grease Demand Up Sharply

Global lubricating grease production saw strong growth from 2006 to 2007, propelled by gains reported in China, Europe and India, according to NLGI Internationals Grease Production Survey for 2007. The survey found that worldwide grease output reached 1,047,000 metric tons, up from 974,000 tons reported in 2006. On a comparative basis (that is, including only companies that provided data for each of the past four years), global production rose 7.2 percent from 2006 to 2007.

Since 2004, the global grease market has expanded an average of 7 percent a year. China was the worlds largest grease manufacturer in 2007, accounting for 26.7 percent of global production. For information or to buy a copy of the full report, visit

Croda Sheds Oleo Business

Croda International recently agreed to sell its oleochemicals business to H.I.G. Capital for Euro 46.7 million (U.S. $91 million). The disposal of the oleochemical business is part of Crodas restructuring program following its acquisition of Uniqema in 2006. Uniqema and Crodas lubricants business is not included in the sale. The sales proceeds will be used to reduce debt. The Chicago-based oleochemicals business, which had a 2007 operating profit of $9 million, supplies fatty acids and glycerine used in lubricant formulations as well as other products.

Whos Boosting Capacity?

Chemtura is expanding manufacturing capacity for its Hybase over-based calcium sulfonates by more than 25 percent, in response to strong demand in the marine and industrial lube markets. Made in West Hill, Ontario, Canada, the product is typically used as a detergent and rust inhibitor in crankcase lubricants. The expansion will be complete by November, says the companys Kirk Schlup.

BASF plans to double its manufacturing capacity for certain alkyl ethanolamines by mid-2009 in response to increases in customer demand for the products, some of which are used in lubricants and metalworking fluids. The company manufactures a range of ethanolamines – including ethylethanolamines, propylethanolamines and butylethanolamines used in lubricants, additives and other products – at its Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Geismar, La., facilities.

Dow Chemical is adding production of several water-soluble base fluids at the Optimal joint-venture manufacturing plant in Malaysia. The additional 50HB series fluids expand the number of products available throughout Asia from Dow Ucon, which already sources a number of fluids and lubricants from Optimal.

Oxea and Chinese company Shenyang Zhangming Chemical in Zhangyizhan, Shenyang, have agreed to form a joint venture to produce carboxylic acids in China and market the products worldwide. According to the announcement, production of other derivatives is also possible. Carboxylic acids are used for a variety of applications including production of lubricants.

White Oil Marketer Picked

Coral Gables, Fla.-based distributor Schumann Steier has been named exclusive representative for LyondellBasells specialty white oils and lubricant products, including the Duoprime, Duopac, Crystex, Aquamarine and Ideal products, produced at the Lyondell Houston refinery and blended and packaged nearby. Schumann Steier will manage sales from Houston and from terminals in Hammond, Ind., Philadelphia, Kansas City, Kan., and Los Angeles.

SK, Lithcon Part Ways

SK Energy and Lithcon Petroleum USA have mutually agreed not to renew their 12-year-old marketing agreement when it expires at the end of August, and SK already has begun direct marketing of its Yubase branded API Group III base oils in the Americas. The change was made possible by rising sales of base oils from SKs refinery in Ulsan, South Korea. SK General Manager Y.M. Park expressed thanks to Lithcon for its help with that rise. Charles Ho of Lithcon indicated that our goal was to help them enter the Americas market, and weve done that. They now have the capability to market directly. To boost its U.S. team, SK added Beth Fields, formerly of Lithcon, as Yubase sales manager for the Americas, and Mike Brown as Yubase technical manager. Brown formerly was with BP Castrol and ExxonMobil.

Faces in the News

NLGI International has elected Barbara Bellanti as president of the grease technical and trade group. Bellanti is president of her family-owned Battenfeld Grease & Oil Corp. of N.Y., where she has worked since 1981.

The Society of Tribologists & Lubrication Engineers has tapped Robert Bruce as president. Bruce is a tribology engineer at GE Aircraft Engine in Cincinnati.

The Axel Group announces several appointments including Bengt Larsson as group commercial manager. In this new role, Larsson will focus on marketing, product management and business development. Anna Akerblad takes over as group finance manager, and Peter Dijke joins the company as supply chain manager at Netherlands-based Axel Christiernsson BV, where hell head the companys entire material flow, including purchasing and ordering.

Florham Park, N.J.-based Troy Corp. has named Susan Ostrowski as director of biocides products marketing, responsible for the Troy USA biocide business. Also, Charles Malloy and Wendy Kozel have joined Troy as regional sales managers. They will coordinate sales, marketing, development and operations.

Kleentek has hired David Beck as senior application engineer, responsible for the sales of the companys electrostatic oil conditioning systems in the Upper Midwest, Alaska and parts of Canada. Previously, he was a program process engineer for several Japanese OEMs.

Unist Inc. of Grand Rapids, Mich., has named Mark Cooper as national sales manager of its minimal-lubrication products for the United States. He has been with the company for over five years.

Washington, D.C.-based National Petrochemical & Refiners Association has named Gregory Scott as executive vice president and general counsel. Scott has been a partner at the law firm Kelley Drye & Warren.

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