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Dexos Debut Nears

General Motors has registered the trademark for its new global engine oil specification: Its called dexos (which the automaker likes to spell with lowercase letters). Dexos 2, designed for use in passenger car diesel engines, is launching now in Europe, and the company says its counterpart for gasoline-fueled engines should be available globally for its 2011 model year vehicles. We expect to have dexos for all our manufacturing plants worldwide, as factory fill, said Eric R. Johnson of General Motors Powertrain, North America.

The dexos specification is based on performance tests from ILSAC and Europes ACEA, plus some proprietary GM tests. GM has selected the Center for Quality Assurance, part of the Savant Group in Midland, Mich., to be the program administrator for licensing dexos. Licensees will pay a $1,000 annual fee for each product, plus a royalty of 36 cents on every gallon of dexos they sell.

Why is this fee needed? Johnson replied that a large number of engine sequence tests soon will need replacing, as older tests become obsolete or the hardware becomes unavailable. GMs costs for engine test development will be huge, he said, and dexos royalties will help the company prepare for that.

The American Petroleum Institute, along with North American and Japanese automakers, have developed and managed engine oil upgrades for the past 20 years. Throughout this time, General Motors continued to have its own specifications and to reference them in its owners manuals. The manuals currently include GM spec 6094M and 4718M for service fill. Dexos will replace both of these, Johnson said.

Even as GM prepares to roll out dexos, the oil and auto industries are working feverishly to complete the new ILSAC GF-5 engine oil upgrade. However, Johnson said, GF-5 is not complete yet so GM cannot commit to having its 2011 owners manuals reference those oils, or to including the API starburst logo that will identify them in the market. GF-5 doesnt exist now, so we cant comment on our plans for it until the specification is finalized, Johnson stated. We will include dexos, in place of the older GM numerical specifications.

China Milestone for Rhein Chemie

Sept. 6 marked the official opening of Rhein Chemie LOA (Qingdao) Ltd., the companys new facility for producing lubricant additives in China. Construction of the 5 million plant began in November 2007 and commissioning was in November 2008, followed by the opening of a sophisticated applications laboratories this spring. Since its lube additives go into metalworking fluids, corrosion inhibitors, greases, hydraulic fluids, and industrial gear, turbine and compressor oils, the Lanxess business unit is now set to benefit from above-average growth in Chinas industrial lubricant segment, said CEO and President Dr. Anno Borkowsky.

No Slack Outlook for Wax

Demand for waxes in the United States will grow 2.2 percent a year to reach $2.5 billion in 2013, predicts a new study. Aiding this growth will be an eventual recovery in the manufacturing and construction sectors of the economy, says Waxes, the market research study from Cleveland-based Freedonia Group.

Some of that value growth will be due to a shift away from lower-cost petroleum waxes to more expensive synthetic and natural waxes, the study forecasts. Petroleum waxes today dominate the U.S. market, with over half of the market value and 70 percent of product volume in 2008. Significant changes are under way though, due largely to technology changes in petroleum refining which are reducing supply. Since 1998, petroleum waxes have suffered severe losses in nearly all applications but especially in key markets such as paper packaging and candles. They also face competition from alternate products, both wax and non-wax, such as plastics, the report says.

Demand for petroleum waxes, it adds, will see only 0.2 percent average growth per year to 2013. The complete 237-page study, Waxes, is available for $4,600 from The Freedonia Group. E-mail Corinne Gangloff, pr@freedonia.com, or visit www.freedoniagroup.com for details.

Chevron: Goodbye to India

Chevron will exit the lubricants market in India this month, the company told the online newsletter www.LubeReport.com. It said the lubes market there does not fit into its global strategy for growth. Chevron has been in India since 1993, originally under the Caltex label and under the Chevron name since 2007. It also sold Delo and Havoline branded products there. It once had a lube blending plant in Chennai, but sold it in 2008 and turned to local toll blenders to make products to its specifications.

India is a 1.5 million metric ton market, but it is very, very competitive and crowded with national oil companies, multinationals and independent lubricant players. That may have spurred Chevron to move its resources to other growth markets where it can gain a better position, suggested Geeta Agashe of Kline & Co., Little Falls, N.J.

Also, a company spokesperson pointed out, Chevron maintains a presence in India through its additives joint venture, aviation fuels and technology licensing business. These includes Chevron Oronite, which operates a 50/50 joint venture with Chennai Petroleum Corp. Ltd. that makes lube additives, and the licensing of Chevron Lummus Globals Isodewaxing and Isofinishing technologies for making base oils.

Maxum Spree Continues

Maxum Petroleum, which has been mopping up fuel and lubricant distributors since 2004, bagged another one in August: Mid-State Industrial Lubricants Co. Mid-State, founded in 1971 by the Shelton family and based in Summersville, W.Va., supplies industrial lubricants and fuels to commercial and industrial customers in central Appalachia. Mid-State employees, including President Ed Shelton, will continue in their current roles as part of the Maxum organization.

Maxum already has a presence in Appalachia, through its Petroleum Products Inc. subsidiary, so the new purchase enlarges its footprint in the region. The acquisition is Maxums 12th to date, including Simons Petroleum, Trevco, Pecos, Canyon State and others. Maxum said it has a $300 million chest from private equity investors to continue its consolidation strategy.

Kansas Gets Rerefinery

Universal Lubricants recently celebrated the opening of its new rerefinery in Wichita, Kan. The rerefinery will process used motor oil into API Group II quality base oils and other products, for sale and for blending into its own Universal Eco Performance line of lubricants. The rerefinery will be able to process approximately 12 million gallons of used oil a year, the company indicated, and is 10 times more efficient than refining conventional virgin base oil from crude.

Plant construction began last fall under a strategy developed with Pegasus Capital Advisors, the private equity group which invested in Universal Lubricants in 2007. Since that time, Universal Lubricants has expanded its oil collection business, and now has in place an agreement to collect used motor oil from Wal-Mart tire and lube centers throughout Kansas and western Missouri. The rerefinery adds 40 skilled jobs to Wichita, and is estimated to have a local economic impact of approximately $40 million.

Viscotech Additives Plant Opens

Partners BRB International and SWD Lubricants GmbH have started up their new plant in Duisburg, Germany, that will dissolve viscosity modifiers into base oil diluent and create ready-to-use liquid additives for lube blenders. The joint venture operates as Viscotech GmbH, and uses polymers sourced from DSM Elastomers. SWDs site, on Germanys largest inland port and with frontage on the Rhein River, is home to the plant.

BRB, a chemical supplier based in Ittervoort, Netherlands, said Viscotech can dissolve the additives into base stocks ranging from API Group I to Group III and IV, depending on customer needs. Last fall, the companies said the plants capacity would be 10,000 metric tons per year. BRB will market the Viscotech products, while SWD, an independent lubricant producer, will be responsible for the manufacturing side of the business. BRB also formulates silicones, additives, chemicals and lubricants.

Linden Steps Down

James L. Linden of General Motors, who joined the Fuels & Lubricants Department of General Motors Research in 1973 and was a steady presence in automotive lubricants development for the past two decades, elected to retire at the end of September. During his career as a staff researcher at GM, Linden was responsible for many improvements in engine oils, power transmission fluids and vehicle fuel economy. In retiring, he also steps down as chairman of the auto industrys International Lubricants Standardization & Approval Committee (ILSAC), a role that now will likely go to Matt Snider of GM Powertrain.

Linden (who hints that he may step into another industry role) also led the consortium that developed the Sequence VID test for fuel economy contribution of engine oils. This new test was accepted into the American Chemistry Councils Code of Practice in July, and is a cornerstone of the upcoming ILSAC GF-5 engine oil upgrade. The VID test faces one final hurdle in GF-5: negotiation and approval of test limits that are acceptable to automakers, oil and additive companies. If those approvals are secured by early December, the new oils should enter commercial service Oct. 1, 2010.

Milacrons New Chapter

Milacron LLC in August completed its purchase of substantially all businesses and assets of Milacron Inc. and brought them out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Milacron LLC is a privately held entity owned by a group of investors led by Avenue Capital Group and DDJ Capital Management Inc. The new Milacron is headed by turnaround specialist Dennis Smith, as president and CEO, and benefits from having more than $500 million fewer liabilities and 80 percent less debt than the former company.

The restructured company retains its major businesses, including plastics processing machinery (a segment now led by David Lawrence, former CEO of Milacron Inc.), mold technologies, blow molding and structural foam, and Cimcool metalworking fluids and services. The new owners of the Cincinnati-based company also tapped Milacrons Bob McKee to serve as president of Cimcool.

Faces in the News

David Collins is the new technical director at Cross Packaging, a division of Cross Oil Refining & Marketing. Hes responsible for quality assurance and new product development at Crosss plants in Smackover, Ark., and Kansas City, Kan. Collins has over 20 years experience, including with Burmah Castrol and BP.

At its August meeting, the Petroleum Packaging Council elected consumer packaging and labeling expert James P. Jim Murphy to be its new president. Murphy, who is West Coast account manager at Graphic Packaging Inc., has been involved in the packaging industry for more than 30 years, with most of that time at Graphic Packaging and its predecessor companies Smurfit-Stone and Di-Na-Cal.

Bill Klesse, Valero Energys CEO, president and chairman, has been elected chairman of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association. Klesse has been with Valero and the former Ultramar Diamond Shamrock and its predecessors for 40 years.

C. Lawrence Miller has been elected vice president of human resources at Lubrizol Corp. An 11-year veteran of the Wickliffe, Ohio, additive company, he replaces Mark W. Meister, who has retired. Miller also has worked for Tremco, Ferro and Diebold.

Apollo Oil, a Winchester, Ky.-based supplier of lubricants to the U.S. Southeast, has hired Joe Goecke to manage its industrial services and products. Goecke has over 17 years of experience in industrial lubrication, including providing on-site chemical consulting for hundreds of customers.

Specialty chemical distributor Walsh & Associates named Tom Intagliata sales representative for its St. Louis sales region. A graduate of Univ. of Missouri-Rolla, his technical experience includes positions at Chemetall, Galaxy-Fremont and Henkel Loctite.

Amelia Ballinger has joined the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association as its meeting planner. In addition to overseeing its Annual Meeting, Management Forum and other events, Ballinger will serve as committee liaison for the Alexandria, Va.-based trade group. She takes over from Carla Mangone, who left in June to be with her family.

Briefly Noted

Lubricant and grease manufacturer Chemtool is acquiring a 102,00-square-foot facility in Rockton, Ill., for use as a new corporate headquarters. The facility is close to the companys manufacturing plant in Rockton, and Chemtool expects to complete the move from its present offices in Crystal Lake, Ill., by March 1 … Citing improved volume trends and better margins, Lubrizol Corp. in mid-September announced it was raising its earnings guidance for 2009 to the range of $5.87 to $6.17 per share, after restructuring and impairment charges. Thats about 40 cents per share higher than the previous estimate, issued at the end of July… Malaysias Emery Oleochemicals, created last year from the former oleochemicals unit of Cognis, was named Frost & Sullivans 2009 Asia Pacific Best Oleochemicals Company. The award was based on the companys market share, capabilities and overall contribution to the industry.

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