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Calumet-Lyondell Deal Draws Fire

Asurprise deal announced in early October – for Calumet to sell all the white oil and naphthenic base oil made by LyondellBasells Houston Refining subsidiary – hit a hard bump soon after. Lyondells current marketing partners, Nynas AB and Shumann Steier Inc., each filed objections in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to stop the new alliance from going forward. The court is due to hear the case Nov. 4.

Under the proposed contract, Calumet Specialty Products Partners would handle the output from LyondellBasells 3,600 barrel per day pale oil plant, plus about 800 b/d of white mineral oils from the Houston refinery. Currently, Nynas markets the naphthenic base oils and SSI the white oils. However,LyondellBasell declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January, which it said allowed it to reject all contracts and find more attractive agreements.

In its Oct. 16 filing, Nynas asked the court to either turn down LyondellBasells effort to end its contract, or adjourn for 90 days so Nynas can prepare its legal case. Schumann Steier also asked the court to hold LyondellBasell to its existing contract, or to allow it to look deeper into the deal with Calumet. Among other things, the new contract is anti-competitive and hands Calumet too large a share of the U.S. white oils market, SSI President Arthur Steier told Lube Report.

Calumet expected to assume the contracts Nov. 1, but a LyondellBasell spokesman said that now will coincide with the hearing date for the two objections – Nov. 4.

Jay Flint, president of Nynas USA, emphasized that Nynas is committed to the U.S. market regardless of what happens with the LyondellBasell contract. We view the U.S. as not only an important market segment, but strategically, an important supply point for us globally, he stated.

A spokesperson for Calumet declined to comment, citing legal reasons.

Lubrizol Moves MWF Lab

Lubrizol has completed the relocation of its metalworking fluid laboratory and testing operations from Spartanburg, S.C., to the technical center at its Wickliffe, Ohio, headquarters. The new and expanded facility provides a full range of metalworking testing capabilities, including a CNC machining center that allows for fluid evaluations under actual production conditions.

Spartanburg had been a cornerstone of Lubrizols metalworking business since it acquired Gateway Additive Co. in 1997. In Wickliffe, metalworking research can ally more closely with the rest of its industrial additives product line, the company said. The new labs and their location will allow us to provide faster, better and more efficient technical support and new, innovative products for our customers, pointed out Frank Kroto, global technology manager for metalworking.

Shell Sells Greek Business

As it continues to review and concentrate its downstream portfolio, Shell has decided to sell most of these activities in Greece – including a lubricant blending plant in Perama, 700 service stations, depots, P-gas operations and other businesses – to Motor Oil (Hellas) for $357 million. Motor Oil (Hellas) is headquartered in Maroussi, Greece, and owns a 3,600 barrel per day API Group I base oil plant in Agii Theodori.

Separately, Athens-based Petro Petropoulos bought Shells lubricant sales and marketing business in Greece, which it valued at about $20 million after restructuring. Petro Petropoulos will also be the macro distributor for Shell lubricants in Greece, including for marine and aviation lubricants. Both deals are subject to regulatory review and approval.

Total Buys in Vietnam

Total last month agreed to buy ExxonMobils shares in a lubricants and specialties business in Vietnam. The operation includes a lubricant blending plant in that country, as well as solvent and asphalt storage tanks. The transaction, between Total and an ExMo affiliate, is expected to take two to three months to complete.

Grease Expert Launches Consultancy

Grease Technology Solutions is a new Manassas, Va.-based consultancy established by Charles R. Chuck Coe. The venture will help clients to create strategies for grease research, quality control and product development, to optimize marketing plans, and to analyze decisions for their bottomline impact. GTS will also offer customized training for grease producers and distributors, covering grease testing, manufacturing and applications, Coe told LubesnGreases.

Coe has deep experience as a project manager and business leader, and holds a degree in chemical engineering from Penn State. He began his lubricants career in 1977 with Mobil Oil, and most recently was grease technology manager for ExxonMobil Corp., where he has trained hundreds of sales and engineering employees in North and South America. An award-winning author and presenter, he also is an NLGI Certified Lubricating Grease Specialist. E-mail: chuckcoe@msn.com

Irving Adds New England Partner

Coastal Blending and Packaging has signed Myra Distributing to become a distributor of Irving brand lubricants throughout Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire, southern Maine, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The products include oils, greases and industrial fluids, which are blended and packaged at Coastals 157,000- sq.ft. facility in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.

Myra Distributing is a woman-owned distributor of automotive and industrial lubes, absorbents, filters, dispensing equipment and other automotive products. The Gloucester, Mass.-based company plans to use the Irving products to expand further into the marine, machining and commercial industries, said Myra Coletti, president.

Base Oil Summit Announced.

Conference organizer ACI is launching a European Base Oils and Lubricants Summit, to be held Nov. 24-25 at Londons Park Lane Hotel. The agenda at this first-time event will include base oil trends, market success, the outlook for Eastern Europe, bio-lubricants, the impact of exchange rates, and much more. Confirmed speakers include representatives of CEC, Europalub, ELGI, Nynas, Fuchs Petrolub, and other experts. The conference will also hear from Ford Motor Co. on its new engine requirements and designs, and the need for higherquality lubricants. For agenda details and registration information, contact Marisa Magtultol, mmagtultol@acieu.net, or visit www.acius.net and click on Energy.

Grease Presentations Sought

Authors are invited to present papers on the topic of lubricating grease at the 2010 NLGI Annual Meeting, June 12 to 15 in Bonita Springs, Fla. Technical, manufacturing and marketing papers on lubricating grease are sought for this prestigious event, as well as papers on additive chemistries, grease testing, environmental, toxicological and regulatory issues, grease applications and industry trends. These peer-reviewed papers also may be published in the internationally recognized NLGI Spokesman.

With 300 member companies worldwide, NLGIs annual meeting provides a major forum for researchers, manufacturers and suppliers, points out NLGI Technical Session Chairman Rob Kress, of Lubricating Specialties Co. Prospective authors should provide their names, contact details and paper subjects by Dec. 14; abstracts are due by Jan. 30. For details, e-mail Kress at rkress@lubespecialties.com or NLGI at nlgi@nlgi.org.

Additive Supplier Grows

With an eye to future growth for its specialty chemical business, Petroleum Chemicals is moving to larger quarters in Sacramento, Calif., to accommodate business and staff expansions. Our new facility gives us more flexibility as our business continues to grow, said President Bob Scheetz. The company supplies additives to independent lubricant blenders and the automotive aftermarket, including engine oil additives, driveline and industrial products, sulfonates, viscosity modifiers and other components.

Faces in the News

Habib Quazi is now vice president for synthetics at ExxonMobil Chemical, responsible for oversight of the companys worldwide synthetic fluids business. He joined ExxonMobil in 1990, and held technical and management positions in a number of its downstream business units, including with ExxonMobil Research & Engineering and Lubricants & Specialties. He holds a mechanical engineering degree from Rensselaer, and MBA from Northwestern Universitys Kellogg School.

Jeff Dill, an energy attorney with diversified experience, has joined Maxum Petroleums executive team in Greenwich, Conn., as senior vice president and general counsel. Prior to joining the petroleum and lubricant product marketer, he was with PBF Investments LLC. His career also includes roles with Premcor and Unocal/Tosco, and experience in mergers and acquisitions.

Kim Ann Mink was elected president and CEO of Dow Chemicals Angus Chemical Co. subsidiary and global general manager of Dows Performance Materials business, effective Aug. 1. She joined Dow in April, upon its acquisition of Rohm and Haas, where she worked for 20 years in positions of increasing responsibility for various commercial businesses, regionally and globally. Mink holds a chemistry degree from Hamilton College, a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Duke Univ., and is a graduate of the Wharton Schools business management program.

Biocides manufacturer Arch Chemicals has promoted Rick Walden to senior vice president for its global Health & Hygiene and Preservation & Protection Biocides businesses, including Performance Products and Asia-Pacific. Walden previously was vice president and general manager of the companys industrial biocides and performance products. An engineer, he also has an MBA from Bellarmine Univ.

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