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Dow, BASF Bracing for Cuts

Dow Chemical has announced a restructuring plan that will shut down several ethylene-related manufacturing assets, while BASF is eyeing its options – restructuring, sale or closure – for 23 of the 55 former Ciba production sites worldwide it acquired in June.

BASF said it expects to decide on the fate of the Ciba properties by first quarter 2010, and will optimize the remaining 32 sites as part of its global network. Integrating Ciba will involve cutting 3,700 positions by 2013, it added, with most cuts coming by the end of 2010. Ciba offers a wide range of lubricant additives, including antioxidants, antiwear agents, metal deactivators, corrosion inhibitors and others.

Dows restructuring will see the closing of three Louisiana facilities: an ethylene cracker in Hahnville; ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol units there; and another facility in Plaquemine. It also will shut down an ethylene glycol/oxide production site in Wilton, U.K., by the end of January 2010.

Lifetime Lube for Wind Turbines?

The U.S. Department of Energy last month announced a $745,000 grant to Dow Corning to develop a lifetime lubricant for gearboxes, in hopes of increasing the efficiency and durability of wind turbine drivetrains.

Dow Corning spokesman Jarrod Erpelding said the Midland, Mich.-based company applied for the grant to support its research and development in the field. We have ongoing research into what we can do to make wind turbines more durable, more reliable, because theres a tremendous amount of maintenance costs associated with gearboxes and other components if theyre not lubricated appropriately, Erpelding said.

An informal survey of 75 wind farm operators in the United States, conducted last year by Frontier Pro Services, found that gearbox failures accounted for the largest amount of downtime, maintenance and loss of power production.

The Energy Department also released its 2008 Wind Technologies Market report, detailing investments made in wind projects in the United States in 2008. According to the report, the $16 billion investment in U.S. wind projects made this the fastest-growing wind power market in the world. Wind power contributed 42 percent of all new U.S. electric generating capacity in 2008.

Texas led all states with 7,118 megawatts of total wind capacity installed, followed by Iowa (2,791 megawatts) and California (2,517 megawatts). Seven states now have more than 1,000 megawatts installed, and 13 have more than 500.

The 2008 Wind Technologies Market Report is available online at www1.eere.energy.gov/windandhydr o/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/46026.pdf

Grease Output Slipped in 2008

Total reported production of lubricating greases worldwide reached 2.25 billion pounds in 2008, according to the newly published Grease Production Survey from NLGI International. In 2007, global production was reported at 2.3 billion pounds.

Lithium soap greases, according to the survey data, remain by far the largest grease type produced worldwide, accounting for 73 percent of the total in 2008, or 1.6 billion pounds of the total. Calcium soap grease production reached 249.9 million pounds (11 percent of the total), and aluminum soap greases accounted for 90.1 million pounds.

On a comparative basis – using data only from companies that reported their output for both years – the NLGI found worldwide grease production had slipped 2.2 percent from 2007 to 2008. Production in North America declined 5.1 percent, while Europe saw grease output fall 3.1 percent.

In China, the new survey shows, grease production hit 612 million pounds in 2008, while output in India and the Indian subcontinent reached 214 million pounds. The survey also collects data from producers in other regions, such as Japan, Africa and the Middle East, and South America.

The latest Grease Production Survey from the Kansas City, Mo.-based NLGI covers the calendar years 2005 through 2008, with production data organized by geographic region and by thickener type. It is the only survey worldwide that focuses exclusively on lubricating grease production. Copies of the complete 25-page report can be purchased from NLGI for $150 (non-members). To order, visit www.nlgi.org and select NLGI Store.

More Polyols for Lanxess

Lanxess AG will acquire the business and production assets of Chinas Jiangsu Polyols Chemical Co. Ltd., which produces trimethylol-propane (TMP), a polyalcohol that can be used in making synthetic lubricants and other products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Jiangsu Polyols reported 2008 sales of Euro 10 million, and currently employs 170 at its location in Liyang Liquiang Industry Zone in the Jiangsu Province. It boasts capacity for about 15,000 metric tons per year of TMP, plus other specialties. The Leverkusen, Germany-based Lanxess said its basic chemicals business unit is already a major supplier of TMP in China. It will integrate the Jiangsu business into its global operations, which includes production sites in Germany, China and the United States.

PetroCard Grows Again

Kent, Wash.-based PetroCard Systems has acquired Estacada Oil and its Northwest Petoleum lubricants division, extending the ExxonMobil lube distributors reach into northern and central Oregon. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Estacada owners John and Karmen Bresko are retiring, while their current employees will remain with PetroCard.

Estacadas Northwest Petroleum division supplied hydraulic oils for power generation (both wind and hydroelectric) and lubricants for trucking fleets, said PetroCard CEO Steve Tolton. Theyre also an ExxonMobil lubes distributor, as are we.

The two companies are a good fit, he added. PetroCards lubricant focus has been on passenger vehicle products, selling to retail chains, quick lubes, dealers and other installers, as well as to commercial vehicle fleets. PetroCard also acquired distributor Thunderbird Lubrications, of Spokane, Wash., in 2005.

Parkland Snaps Up Fellow Canadian

Parkland Income Fund has acquired the distribution business of Columbia Fuels Ltd., which delivers lubricants to commercial customers on the western coast of Canada. Price was Canadian $34.5 million (U.S. $30.5 million), and the deal closed in June.

Headquartered in Victoria, B.C., Columbia Fuels offers Shell lubricants at seven lube office locations, delivering the products to customers throughout the Vancouver Island, Powell River and Sunshine Coast regions of British Columbia. Red Deer, Alberta-based Parkland supplies lubricants, industrial fluids, petroleum products and services to customers in Alberta, British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. Its brands include Neufeld, United Petroleum and Great Northern Oil.

Prista Buys Hungarian

Bulgarian lubricant marketer Prista Oil has agreed to buy 92 percent of Hungarys Bogdany Petrol Ltd., saying it will double the size of the newly acquired affiliate and use it as a vehicle for increased sales in Hungary. Based in Sofia, Prista reported sales of 178,000 metric tons of lubricants in 2008. It said the purchase is part of a strategy to diversify its product range and geographic reach, as well as raw material supply.

Bogdany Petrol is located in northeastern Hungary, and makes industrial oils such as quenching and cleaning fluids, technical white oils, and insulating paraffins and gels. It was founded in 2000 and reported sales revenues of U.S. $31 million in 2007. One of Eastern Europes most developed countries, Hungary is a good place for investment, said Plamen Bobokov, chairman of Prista Oil

Faces in the News

Claude Orsi, former head of worldwide OEM business development for Total Lubricants in France, is the new president of ATIEL, the organization representing Europes principal lubricant manufacturers and marketers. Orsi retired from Total in September and took up his new appointment with ATIEL in March.

SK Lee has been promoted to senior manager, technical services, at Petronas Base Oils, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Lee replaces EK Ong, who retired in June and has launched the consultancy EK Energy in Selangor, Malaysia.

Barry Smith has been named chief executive of Polartech Ltd., the multinational supplier of metalworking fluids, packages and additives. Based in the U.K., Smith has over 20 years of experience in the industrial lubes sector, including with Mobil, BP and Castrol Industrial.

Oleochemicals, castor oil and specialty chemical supplier Acme-Hardesty has added Bill Herrera of Seabrook, Texas, as its new Southwestern regional sales manager. Formerly with State Chemical Inc., he will be responsible for building the companys sales in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Kimes Technologies International has added Harry Pizzingrilli, formerly of Pitt Penn Oil, as vice president of marketing for North America. Paul Morrison also joined the company as product manager for Jalpon products, a new line of gelled sulfonates currently in development at the Seven Fields, Pa.-based company.

Rick Long has joined the Tulsa-based Petroleum Equipment Institute as general manager. His background includes work in marketing and branding, as well as writing and the law. Long replaces Connie Dooley, who is scaling back her responsibilities and will continue with PEI as director of convention planning.

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