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Survey: Older Cars Getting Less Care

Drivers say theyll keep their cars longer than they originally intended – but may not be adjusting their maintenance habits to meet those changed plans, says a recent survey commissioned by ExxonMobil. The survey polled men and women 18 and older who own and/or drive automobiles and participate in decision-making about maintenance. Among its findings:

Drivers intend to keep their vehicles for a long time. Just over 40 percent want to keep their vehicles for 150,000 miles or more; 23 percent intend to go beyond 200,000 miles.

Thirty-seven percent say they now expect to keep their vehicles longer than they planned when they bought them. Of those, nearly half cite economics as the reason.

Synthetic motor oil use is very low. Only 1 percent of respondents are using synthetic motor oil in their engine.

Very few (21 percent) say they follow the manufacturers recommendations for maintenance precisely, or heed warnings on how to keep their car in the best condition.

Ray McDonald, global technical advisor for synthetic passenger vehicle lubricants at ExxonMobil, suggested that this presents an opportunity for synthetic engine oils. These findings should prompt drivers to adopt synthetic motor oils, as they try to get more use out of their vehicles, he said.

Castrol Withdraws Sludge Claim

BP Lubricants has agreed to stop all media advertising that claims its Castrol GTX motor oil offers superior sludge protection. Bowing to a decision by the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, BP America said it still believes that its claims are supported by Mercedes-Benz M111 sludge tests, but as a strong supporter of the self-regulatory process it would withdraw the disputed advertising.

In television ads, Castrol had boasted that it was 57 percent better than other products and that it passed the industrys toughest sludge standard. Those boasts were challenged by Pennzoil-Quaker State, which brought its complaint to the NAD. In its review of the data, first the NAD and then its appeals panel sided with Pennzoil. The panel said BP America had not submitted adequate evidence to establish that the M111 test was tougher than all industry sludge standards, and also disagreed with the tests suitability for making claims of superiority.

Chevron Signs Up Multisol

Chevron has selected U.K.-based Multisol to distribute its API Group II and II+ base oils in Europe. It picked Multisol because the international chemical distributor offers a full range of services, and will help Chevron to step up marketing of Group II base oils at a time when European engine oil specifications are tightening. Multisols breadth of service combined with its technical experience and commitment to operational excellence make them ideal partners for us to support the needs of regional lubricant marketers, said Marty Gilles, vice president of Chevron Global Base Oils in San Ramon, Calif.

Tall Oil Plant to Close

Arizona Chemical plans this month to permanently close its Port St. Joe, Fla., tall oil plant, citing the global economic downturn and fading customer orders. The plants production will be transferred to Panama City, Fla., and Savannah, Ga., and severance and outplacement services offered to its 77 employees. Tall oil products, including tall oil fatty acids, are used in making metalworking fluids and corrosion inhibitors, and in industrial lubricants.

This decision is not a reflection of the team members at the Port St. Joe plant, said President and CEO Kees Verhaar. Arizona Chemical is not alone in its struggle to stay ahead of the impact the global economic downturn has had on our orders and production.

Sales Team Drafted for Recycled Oil

Safety-Kleen recently inked a series of distribution deals to boost the reach of its EcoPower rerefined motor oils. In Tennessee, Parman Lubricants will market the product to Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis and surrounding areas. East Hartford, Conn.-based G.H. Berlin Co. has signed on to distribute the oil in Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and western Massachusetts. And portions of New York and Pennsylvania will be handled by Superior Lubricants, based in North Tonawanda, N.Y.

Idemitsu Raises Indonesian

Stake Spurred by growing demand for high-performance oils and lubricants for motorcycles, Japans Idemitsu Kosan says it will invest $13.5 million to more than double its finished lubricants production capacity in Indonesia next year. Its Idemitsu Lube Techno Indonesia subsidiary will expand annual blending capacity at its plant in the West Java province to about 65,000 kiloliters (400,000 barrels) in October 2010, from its current 25,000 kl. By 2015, it expects to sell 63,000 kl of lubricants there.

According to consultants Kline & Co., Indonesias finished lubricants market was about 600 kilotons in 2007, valued at almost $1.2 billion. Pertamina, the national oil company, held about 50 percent of Indonesias lube market. Also active are BP, Shell, Top One, Federal Oil, WGI, ExxonMobil and Fuchs.

Holly: Its Official

Independent refiner Holly Corp. on June 1 completed its $65 million acquisition of the Sunoco refinery in Tulsa, Okla., and its line-up of base stocks, process and specialty oils and waxes. The refinery will operate as Holly Refining & Marketing-Tulsa LLC, and will continue to produce and sell Sunoco oils under trademark assignment (including Sunpar, Sundex, Sunthene, Sunspray and Hydrolene).

The complete Sunoco lubricants sales and marketing department has joined Holly, as have virtually all refinery personnel, preserving the facility as a major employer in Tulsa. The plants crude capacity is 85,000 barrels per day. It can make 9,100 b/d of API Group I base stock and 2,200 b/d of wax.

Awards and Kudos

Tribologys highest honor, the 2008 Tribology Gold Medal, was presented to Stathis Ioannides, director of product engineering at SKF Group and a professor of Imperial College, London. He received the award at Buckingham Palace June 10 from Englands Prince Philip. Ioannides was lauded for his theory for predicting the useful life of rolling contact bearings, which is used today by manufacturers and engineers worldwide.

Richard Burkhalter, president of Covenant Engineering Services in Chesterton, Ind., was inducted into the Academy of Chemical Engineers in an April ceremony at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. A well-known consultant and project engineer, author and patent holder, Burkhalter was recognized by the school for outstanding professional achievement and success.

Two additive suppliers were recognized last month by the American Chemistry Council: Infineum USA received the ACCs highest honor, the Responsible Care Sustained Excellence Award, for its continuing performance excellence in the areas of safety, health, environment and community outreach. ACC also presented its Responsible Care Leadership Award to Afton Chemical, for its safety performance, product stewardship and promotion of Responsible Care ethics. Both awards are based on quantitative and qualitative measures.

Bahrain Venture Formalized

Neste Oil, Bapco and Oil & Gas Holding Co. have formally established Bahrain Lube Base Oil Co., a milestone in their joint venture base oil project. The new company will operate the 7,700 b/d Group III base oil plant now under construction in Bahrain, with a scheduled start-up in the second half of 2010.

Neste Oil, based in Espoo, Finland, holds 45 percent of the joint venture, and Bapco (Bahrains national oil company) and Oil & Gas (a Bahraini joint stock company) hold the rest. Together, theyll invest $400 million to $450 million to build the new plant, said Neste executive Matti Lehmus.

Faces in the News

David K. Scheetz, an equipment builder engineer for ExxonMobil Lubricants & Specialties, in May was elected president of the Society of Tribologists & Lubrication Engineers. As the volunteer leader of the Chicago-based technical organization, he oversees its Executive Committee and Board. Scheetz, who holds a degree in mechanical engineering technology from Youngstown State Univ., began his career in 1978 at Mobil Oil and has been deeply involved in STLE since 1983.

Shelton, Conn.-based Oil Purification System has picked Greg Slawson to be its new chief executive officer. An expert in supply chain logistics, Slawson previously served as OPS chief operating officer. The appointment followed the securing of $2.5 million in Sean CrowGreg SlawsonDavid K. Scheetz funding from Atlantic Capital Group, RDA Ventures and others, which will help grow the fluid cleaning technology company.

Lintech International has named Sean Crow as West region business manager, expanding the specialty chemical distributors sales force across the entire U.S. south. Based in Los Angeles, he will cover southern California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona.

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