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Chevron Resets Pascagoula Clock

Falling construction costs have prompted Chevron to slow the pace of building at its massive 25,000 barrel per day Pascagoula, Miss., base oil project. Brent Lok, base oil marketing and new business development manager, said to look for completion in 2013 instead of 2011; that is, up to 18 months later than originally anticipated.

Lok emphasized Chevron was not downing tools, were just slowing down the pace. The company wants to manage costs, he noted. Right now, its a much better cost environment, much more of a buyers market, and we want to take advantage of that to lower the cost of the facility.

Chevron expects API Group II demand to continue to increase, and its very much committed to supplying API Group II base oils to all regions, Lok added, especially Europe. So as the pace eases at Pascagoula, Chevron is looking at options to increase production at its Richmond, Calif., base oil plant, which has 20,000 b/d of Group II capacity. Were aggressively looking at that, in fact, he stated. So that will give us more barrels to address our customers growing demand for Group II base oil.

Fuchs Buys Forging-lube Maker

The U.S. subsidiary of Germanys Fuchs Lubricants has acquired Dylon Industries, which manufactures forging lubricants and other metalworking lubricants. Founded in 1967, Cleveland-based Dylon focuses on products that meet the severe operating conditions found in the metal melting and forming industries, in both the ferrous and nonferrous segments. It also makes specialty greases for forging-press gears, bearings, chains and cables.

Steve Puffpaff, president and chief operating officer of Harvey, Ill.-based Fuchs Lubricants Co., said the combination of Fuchs and Dylon will provide a more complete line of forging lubes to both national and international markets. The combined research and development efforts of Fuchs and Dylon will allow us to offer a more comprehensive support system to our customers, he said. Terms of the transaction, announced last month, were not disclosed.

Progress on GF-5

Some key components of the ILSAC GF-5 passenger car engine oil upgrade have begun falling into place, and commercialization could begin next fall, sources say.

The ILSAC/Oil Committee creating the new engine oil hopes to have a draft of the full specification and its test limits ready for balloting by its members in September or October. ILSAC/Oil members include auto makers and oil marketers, and Kevin Ferrick, engine oil licensing manager at the American Petroleum Institute, says the work is making progress.

The new Sequence VID engine test, sponsored by General Motors and measuring the oils contribution to fuel economy, was approved by ASTMs Passenger Car Engine Oil Classification Panel, led by Thomas Smith of Valvoline. It still needs a thumbs-up from the full ASTM Committee D-2 on Petroleum Products and Lubricants, but that vote should come by years end.

The ROBO bench test, created by a team led by Evonik RohMax researchers Raymond Romaszewski, Pam Palmer and Bernie Kinker, was published by ASTM for the ILSAC GF-5 standard, as an alternative to the far more costly Sequence IIIGA test. ROBO (the Romaszewski Oil Bench Oxidation test) detects oil thickening at cold temperatures after the oil has aged. The 100-hour fired-engine IIIGA test costs about $40,000; a 40-hour run on the sophisticated ROBO bench apparatus can be as little as $1,250.

In July, the American Chemistry Council began registering the VID and IIIGB tests under its Code of Practice, so oil formulators could begin running these tests immediately to demonstrate their candidate engine oils performance for GF-5.

Still undecided is the fate of the TEOST test for high-temperature deposit control, which Chrysler asked to be included in GF-5. ILSAC, the auto industrys group, says the test will help prevent turbocharger coking, but the oil industry is still awaiting data from Chrysler that shows the tests correlation to field experience.

If all stays on track, the commercial introduction of GF-5 now is expected for October 1, 2010. Thats dependent on the ILSAC/Oil Committee approving the specification and its test limits no later than Jan. 1, to allow exactly nine months for marketers to complete the required testing of their new oils.

Dover Starts Up PIBSA Production

Dover Chemical has begun commercial production of PIBSA and derivative products at its Hammond, Ind., facility. PIBSA is a chemical intermediate used as an additive component, while some derivatives are used as soluble oil emulsifiers in metalworking fluids. Business product manager Brad Barth said Dovers current production capacity is geared to smaller-sized lots suitable for niche to mid-size opportunities.

PIBSA (polyisobutene succinic anhydride) adds functionalities such as dispersancy, and is used in making additives for lubricants, biofuels, oil drilling, explosives, coatings and water treatment. Dover also manufactures the derivative PIB succinimide (PIBSI), which it calls a cost-effective alternative to polyether-based dispersants for diesel, biodiesel and engine oil. Biodiesel, in particular, is considered a growing market, due to the need for greater deposit control.

Croda to Close Wilton Plant

Croda International said it will cease production at its Wilton, U.K., site at the end of January 2010 because of Dows plans to close a nearby ethylene oxide plant that same month. Dows Wilton plant is the only U.K. site that produces ethylene oxide, which is essential for most products manufactured at Crodas plant, and the hazardous chemical cannot be transported easily from elsewhere, experts say.

We are still in the very early stages of implementation of the planned closure and do not expect to cease manufacturing until the end of this time, Peter Leader of Croda Europe told customers in a July 24 letter. Wiltons production will be transferred to other sites within the global group.

Ethylene oxide is an intermediate used in production of ethylene glycol and other oxide derivatives such as glycol ethers, polyethylene glycol, polyether polyols, diethylene and triethylene glycols and ethanolamines. Dow had cited economic impacts from the global recession as the reason for closing its Wilton plant.

Crodas Wilton plant has 125 employees.

Neste PAO Plant Idled

Slack demand led Neste Oil temporarily to shut down its 60,000 metric tons per year polyalphaolefins plant in Beringen, Belgium, for four weeks in July-August. The PAO plant is temporarily closed for a four week period as PAO demand has still not fully recovered from the demand drop experienced in late 2008, Virpi Saranpaa, vice president of base oils for Neste Oil, confirmed to Lube Report last month. The temporary shutdown started two weeks ago and impacts more than 15 persons in the PAO production.

The company also shut down the PAO plant for a similar period in May. Demand for base oils has shown a slight recovery, but margins have weakened, it noted in a recent report to shareholders. Neste markets PAO under the Nexbase brand.

SK to Spin Lubes

SK Energys lubricants division will be spun off into a new, wholly-owned subsidiary. SK Energy outlined the plan in July, saying it expected to conclude the legal process by Oct. 1. The spin-off, it said, is a way to maintain full control of the new lubricant entity, while adding flexibility to pursue expansion plans. SK Energy has scheduled an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders Sept. 11 to officially approve it.

The lubricants business, which produces both base oils and finished products, reported $1.5 billion in revenue and $204 million in operating profit in 2008, although it had an operating loss of $59.1 million in this years second quarter.

SK Energy operates a 21,000 barrel per day Group II/III refinery in Ulsan, South Korea, and is a partner with Pertamina in a new 7,000 b/d Group III refinery in Dumai, Indonesia (see story, page 14). Its ZIC-branded motor oil is a leader in South Koreas premium finished lubes market. All will be part of the spin-off, and SK Energy expects the new lubricant entitys total assets will be almost $700 million.

Acheson Taking Leave of Port Huron

Dusseldorf, Germany-based Henkel has notified the 89 employees of its Acheson Colloids plant in Port Huron, Mich., that the site will close at the end of 2010. The plants products include lubricants and lubricant application equipment.

Henkel acquired Acheson in April 2008, when it bought National Starch. Acheson Colloids solid lubricants and additives include dispersions of graphite, molybdenum disulfide, PTFE and boron nitride. These are used in gear oils, conveyor chain lubricants, greases, engine oils or treatments, compressor oils, die-casting and other industrial lubes.

A Henkel spokeswoman said the plants production had declined significantly, and it now employs less than half the number it did in 2008. Much of the production will be transferred to Henkels Delaware, Ohio, plant, with smaller portions moving to a handful of other sites, she said, adding that Port Hurons obsolescence was a factor. There are a lot of advancements in technology available that can allow Henkel to produce some of the products using smaller equipment and less space.

Honors and Awards

For the 11th year in a row, Infineum Singapore Pte. Ltd. received the Singapore Ministry of Manpowers Workplace Safety & Health Award in the topmost Excellence category. The additive manufacturer now has taken S&H awards home for 13 successive years, with Golds in 1997 and 1998. Teo Lek Hong, the companys managing director, said, We are deeply privileged to be presented with this award for the 11th consecutive year. This achievement is also shared with our contractors as we recognize their contribution.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke last month recognized Tampa, Fla.-based Amalie Oil Co. with a Certificate of Excellence in Commerce, at a town-hall style meeting of business and trade leaders that also lauded the Tampa Port Authority. Amalie received the national honor for its solid, sustainable business practices. Denny Madden, senior vice president, accepted the award, along with Manny Bonet, Amalies district manager of export.

Afton Ups Asian Supply

Afton Chemical has entered a long-term chemical processing agreement with toll manufacturer Chemical Specialties (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. to improve its security of supply and provide shorter lead-times with products for customers in the Asia Pacific region. Chemical Specialties operates a 10-acre toll manufacturing facility on Singapores Jurong Island.

The long-term agreement with Chemical Specialties (Singapore) Pte Ltd. is for manufacturing, blending and storage of petroleum additives, spokeswoman Lauren Ereio told the online newsletter www.Lube Report.com. The site will produce lubricant additives, she confirmed, using dedicated Afton equipment, exclusively for Afton production.

Afton President Warren Huang noted the company had sought the right investment opportunity in the region for a number of years. Our new operations will be located at an established facility, which will allow for fast initial start-up, Huang said, adding that the facility also is scalable, allowing Afton to add capacity as the market grows.

USDA Proposes Biobased Label

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is moving ahead with plans for a consumer label to identify biobased products on store shelves, including lubricants and greases, as part of its BioPreferred program under the 2002 Farm Bill. When finalized, the rules will allow manufacturers to voluntarily label and identify their products as biobased. The label is intended to promote the purchase of biobased products by the consuming public, and expand their use beyond their preferred status in government procurement.

Any product that meets USDA minimum biobased content requirements could use the label, the proposal says. So far, the USDA has created biobased-content definitions for nearly 33 designated categories, covering over 3,000 products. Among these are lubricants including hydraulic fluids, penetrating oils, transformer fluids, greases, 2-cycle engine oils, gear oils, chain lubes, metalworking fluids and others. Each must meet a specified biobased content to qualify for the label. All other products, in so-called non-designated categories, will need to have a minimum of 50 percent biobased content in order to display the proposed label.

Information about the overall USDA program can be found at www.biopreferred.com. To read the proposed rulemaking as published in the Federal Register, visit http://edocket. access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-17610.htm. The public comment period for the rule-making ends Sept. 29, with feedback encouraged from interested manufacturers and stakeholders. E-mail: BioPreferred@usda.gov

Faces in the News

Lisa Davis last month took the helm as vice president, Americas, at Shell Lubricants. Named the companys general manager, B2B, last year, Davis has been with Shell since 1986, holding positions such as production engineering and operations superintendent, and leading the acquisition of Pennzoil-Quaker State. Davis takes the place of Steve Harman, who is moving to new responsibilities at Shell Global Downstream.

Effective Oct. 1, Andrew Hepher will fill the slot Davis leaves vacant. A 20-plus year Shell veteran, he brings extensive B2B experience, including as general manager for Shells lubricants business in Germany, where distributors play a key role. Hes currently vice president, strategy & portfolio, at Shell Energy Europe.

Jody Monsour has retired from Motiva and joined base oil distributor and marketer Renkert Oil. He has decades of experience in base oils; his career also has included positions with Sun, Pennzoil/Quaker State/Shell and Flint Hills Resources. Based in Jackson, Miss., Monsour will serve Renkerts customers in the Midwest, supporting the Neste Group III products.

Cliff Schoff has joined Kimes Technologies International in Seven Fields, Pa., as manager of product development. He has 34 years of experience as a scientist and technologist, most recently at PPG Industries. Kimes also named Missy Emerick, formerly of Pitt Penn Oil, to serve as office manager.

Jeff Carr has been appointed business development manager for NSF International Strategic Registrations Inc., responsible for managing all aspects of sales for the organizations registration audit services in the Midwest. He has a long career in manufacturing, supply chain and quality management, including with Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and Rockwell International.

Paul Hofmann

LubesnGreases is sad to report the passing on July 20 of Paul Hofmann, who had retired 10 years ago after a long career with the specialty lubricant and grease company Condat Lubrifiants, based in Chasse Sur Rhone, France. Hofmann was a steadfast advocate for the formation of the European Lubricating Grease Institute over 20 years ago, and served in its early years as the fledgling groups chairman.

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