Market Topics



Lubrizol Buys Chemtool

Lubrizol Corp. on Nov. 9 announced it will purchase Chemtool Inc., one of North Americas largest manufacturers of custom-formulated and private-label greases. The deal, for an undisclosed price, could close before year end depending on regulatory approvals.

Founded in 1963, Rockton, Ill.-based Chemtool makes greases for markets ranging from aviation to transportation. It is known for the ambitious scale of its operations, such as building the worlds largest reactor kettles to produce greases in batches larger than 100,000 pounds. Plans call for it to become part of Lubrizol Additives Custom Solutions segment, where it will operate independently under the Chemtool name and supply products for companies wishing to outsource the manufacture of their grease products.

The combination of Lubrizols expertise in additive technology along with Chemtools knowledge in manufacturing grease is a natural fit which we believe will lead to more diverse product offerings for our global customers, stated James L. Hambrick, Lubrizol chairman, president and CEO. This is an exciting time and significant milestone for Chemtool, said Jim Athans, Chemtool owner and president. Our customers will continue to receive the same level of excellent service provided by Chemtool but now with the added technology, investment resources and global reach available from Lubrizol.

Evergreen Restarts

After seven months of repair and modifications, Evergreen Oil has started up its rerefinery in Newark, Calif. We are delighted to be back online and to have our employees back to work, said Robert Gwaltney, vice president of operations. We have worked very closely with all the state and local agencies to ensure that we met all their requirements before restarting the plant. And we have implemented new safety procedures and updated our operating procedures to make certain our plant is operated at the highest safety standards.

The rerefinery was damaged in a fire on March 29. It has two base oil units, one of which had not fully restarted at this writing. Until its back, the facility will be able to make about 800 barrels per day of API Group II base oil, about half its full capacity, a company official said.

Curtains for Petit Couronne?

Petroplus Holdings AG will suspend next years turnaround of its Petit Couronne, France, refinerys 7,300 barrel per day base oil plant, and may close the unit as a cost-cutting measure. The company plans to begin a formal review of the options, as required under French law, before the end of the year. The potential reconfiguration would impact about 120 out of 550 employees at the site, according to Petroplus.

Petroplus acquired the Petit Couronne refinery in 2008 from Shell, which also weighed ending base oil production there. It has 6,300 b/d of API Group I capacity and 1,000 b/d of Group III capacity. Petroplus owns and operates four other refineries in Europe, including one in Coryton, U.K., which makes base oil.

It has become clear that the Petit Couronne refinery needs more structural changes to significantly improve its competitiveness in a very difficult refining market, CEO Jean-Paul Vettier stated. The clear target is to drastically reduce the break-even point of the refinery in the coming years.

Hercules Sells Synlubes Segment

Ashland subsidiary Hercules is selling its synthetic aviation and refrigerant lubricants business to Monument Chemicals. The price was not disclosed. The synthetic lubricants are polyol- and ester-based, and the annual revenue is about $50 million, according to Ashland, which itself bought the business in 2008.

Under the asset purchase agreement announced last month, Indianapolis-based Monument Chemicals will obtain a 22-acre parcel in Louisiana, Mo., including a manufacturing facility which it plans to continue operating. In January, Hercules sold its pentaerythritol business to Perstorp Polyols.

Ashland said it is selling the business in order to better focus its resources on more strategic assets and product lines. Monument Chemicals is a Heritage Group Company.

Newalta to Double Rerefinery

Canadian rerefiner Newalta Corp. plans to expand its plant in North Vancouver, British Columbia to enable it to process 75 million liters a year of used oil into API Group II base stocks. Were doing the up-front preliminary engineering work now, and the North Vancouver plant will have double its current base oil capacity by 2014, said Alain Portelance, products sales and marketing manager of the Calgary-headquartered industrial waste recycling company. The plants current capacity is about 400 daily barrels of Group II base oils.

Mohawk Canada built the plant in 1983, and Newalta acquired Mohawk Lubricants, the rerefinery and its used oil collection network in 2002. The North Vancouver site also blends, packages and markets finished lubricants, including API licensed engine oils and other automotive and industrial lubricants. Sales of bulk and packaged lubricants are in the range of approximately 4 million liters a year, Portelance said.

N.C. Bars Bad Oil

North Carolina officials in mid-October issued a stop-sale order on 5W-30, 10W-30 and 10W-40 grades of City Star brand motor oils after they failed quality tests. It said most of the City Star products tested similar to a 20-grade motor oil or less in viscosity, with some falling into the diesel fuel range.

The states Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services found a variety of problems with the oils, ranging from viscosity problems to mislabeling. You can shake the bottle, and it almost sounds like water, certainly not like motor oil, a state official told Lube Report.

Retailers or distributors with this product in stock should return it to their suppliers, the department said. Consumers who have bottles of this motor oil should return it to the place of purchase.

The stop-sale order applies to all bottles of the products without a date code, with an illegible date code or a date code of 5/24/11 or earlier. More date codes could be added to the list as the departments standards division samples and tests additional products, said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

Consultancy Launches

Global refining and lubricants industry expert H. Ernest Henderson, Ph.D., has launched K&E Petroleum Consulting, with a focus on base oils, finished product development, and supply chain management. The Minnesota-based technology, logistics and marketing consultancy ( draws on Hendersons deep knowledge of base oil technologies, from rerefined to hydrocracked to GTL. His 30-plus years of broad experience includes managerial positions with Imperial Oil and Exxon, Petro-Canada, Syntroleum, Citgo and Lubrication Technologies.

Progress on HDMO Upgrade

PC-11, the next upgrade for heavy-duty motor oils, was given a green light for category development by the American Petroleum Institutes Lubricants Group, during its November meeting in Houston. That set the stage to establish a New Category Development Team, probably during this months ASTM Committee D-2 meeting in New Orleans.

Diesel engine manufacturers say the new heavy-duty oils are needed in the marketplace by January 2016, to address changing hardware designs and emissions mandates. Two new engine sequence tests – a piston/liner scuffing wear test and a shear stability test – will be needed for PC-11, as well as revisions to at least three other tests. The diesel oil upgrade also should include testing with biofuels to measure their impact on lubricant performance, and also will define viscometrics that can contribute to fuel economy.

The cost of developing PC-11 will be addressed by a task force to include representatives of OEMs, oil marketers, additive companies and engine test labs, all of whom traditionally contribute some share of the funds.

Growth at ZXP

Blender and packager ZXP Technologies has completed a multimillion dollar expansion that adds 20 million to 25 million gallons of additional capacity at its plant in Highlands, Texas.

The plant expansion is the result of a significant piece of new business with a large multinational lubricant company, remarked Jayna Mull, executive vice president of sales and marketing. The client and the geographic region involved are confidential, she said, but the new capacity will target international distribution.

The expansion will enable ZXP to blend and package a variety of motor oils, industrial fluids, gear oils and transmission fluids. Begun in March 2011, the project saw installation of 35 new base oil and additive tanks, additional blending capabilities and new packaging equipment at the Houston-area plant. The new blending system is designed to reduce flush and waste with small batches, allowing ZXP to blend and ship several loads a day, added Steve Davis, executive vice president of operations.

ExxonMobil Names Distributors

Two distributor agreements were signed by ExxonMobil Basestocks to boost availability of its products to global markets. The Brazilian energy conglomerate Cosan will distribute the companys base stocks in that country, and Quality Logistic Services Australia P/L (QLSA) was picked as authorized distributor in Australia. Each of the new partners has full distribution rights for their respective territories, and will handle

ExxonMobils Core brand API Group I and EHC Group II products.

Additionally, Cosan will distribute Mobil brand lubricants in Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay, and manufacture the products at its blending plant in Rio de Janeiro.

Briefly Noted

Total (China) Investment broke ground last month on its 200,000 metric ton per year lube blending plant in Tianjin, China, expected to open in early 2013.

Tide Water Oil (India) has acquired the nearly 100-year-old lubricant brand Veedol from BP, including registered trademarks and logos, for an undisclosed amount. Based in Kolkata, Tide Water Oil (India) is a member of the multi divisional Andrew Yule group.

Shell was tops in global finished lubricants market share in 2010 for the fifth straight year, at 13 percent, reported Kline & Co. Its largest competitors were ExxonMobil, which had an estimated 11 percent global market share in 2010, and BP, at 7 percent. Rounding out the top five were Chevron and Total, each with 5 percent market share. Kline estimated total 2010 worldwide demand at 37.4 million metric tons.

Coming: Greases Top Forum

The deadline nears for submitting technical, manufacturing and marketing papers for presentation at the National Lubricating Grease Institutes 79th Annual Meeting, coming June 9-12 to Palm Beach, Fla. With 300 member companies worldwide, NLGI is the leading forum for researchers to exchange ideas, and for suppliers to reach out to this industry, points out Rob Kress of Lubricating Specialties Co.

Presentations may cover any phase of grease chemistry, formulation, production or application, he reminded. We also welcome papers on new uses for greases and novel research and manufacturing techniques, Kress said. Papers presented at the annual meeting will also be peer reviewed for publication in the NLGI Spokesman. For details or to offer a paper, authors should e-mail Kress at, or NLGI executive director Kim Bott (

Faces in the News

Craig Sungail is now research director, crop care and industrial specialties at Croda Inc., bringing 20 years of diverse industry experience ranging from consumer care to industrial applications. Crodas industrial specialties include lubricants and additives as well as oleochemicals, and Sungails focus will be on new data generation, product development and customer support.

David Lindsay was named technical manager at Afton Chemical, based in Bedford Park, Ill. An expert in industrial lubricants and metalworking fluids, Lindsays career has included positions with D.A. Stuart Co. and as founder and director of firm Primagy Consultants.

Tim Peters has joined Sea-Land Chemical Co. as account manager, responsible for Wisconsin, Minnesota, North and South Dakota and Nebraska. Formerly with Univar, he brings 10 years of chemical sales experience to the specialty chemical distributor.

Amyris named Paula Vettel as a senior scientist, responsible for formulating its Evoshield product line of lubricants containing Novaspec renewable synthetic basestocks. Vettels career has included work at Amoco Petroleum Additives in the development of engine oil additives and formulations, and with D.A. Stuart Co. She also was a director of Primagy Consultants.

BRB International assigned Senior Account Manager Ralph Peeters to develop new business opportunities for its lubricant additives in the United States. BRB has supplied lubricants and additives for 30 years; Peeters has been at the Netherlands-based company since 2002.

ERP software company Deacom Inc. expanded its sales department with two additions: Drew Schwoyer, lead product consultant, and Matthew Keffer, senior sales executive. Schwoyer spent 10 years in manufacturing management, and was an executive with a Deacom customer. Keffer has over 12 years of experience in serving small- to mid-size manufacturing companies, Deacoms prime market.

Related Topics

Market Topics