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Scratch Two More Group I Plants

Caltex Australia in December completed the shuttering of its base oil refinery in Sydney, to cut costs and improve efficiency. And Petroplus in January began closing its Petit Couronne, France, refinery with its 7,300 barrels per day base oil plant, also a victim of economics.

Petit Couronne is in the process of being safely shut down, Petroplus Holdings AG announced Jan. 5. Labor actions at the site are currently restricting liftings of products. The refinery has 550 employees. Its base oil plant has 6,300 b/d of API Group I capacity and 1,000 b/d of Group III capacity.

In October, Petroplus outlined plans to reconfigure Petit Couronne to cut costs, including shutting its base oil plant, but on Dec. 30 the company announced the temporary economic shut-downs of three refineries (Petit Couronne, Antwerp, Belgium, and Cressier, Switzerland), citing limited credit availability and Europes economic climate.

Australias sole surviving base oil plant, the 3,300 b/d Kurnell plant made only Group I oils. Caltex said the closure will not affect the supply of lubricating oil and other products to its customers, as long-term import arrangements are in place. Kurnell was shut down in stages during 2011, culminating with its hydrotreater going offline in early December. The closure will affect about 70 people, the company said; about half will be redeployed within the Caltex business.

Calumet Reenters Finished Lubes

Calumet Specialty Products Partners last month completed its acquisitions of blender and distributor TruSouth Oil, and of the Hercules synthetic aviation and refrigerant lubricants business. Terms were not disclosed for either transaction.

Prior to its acquisition, TruSouth was owned in part by Fred Fehsenfeld Jr., chairman of the board of Calumets general partner; the spouse of F. William Grube, vice chairman and CEO of Calumets general partner; and other members of the Fehsenfeld and Grube families, who also own Calumets general partner.

Indianapolis-based Calumet had transferred its finished lubricants business, which made and marketed SuperCal branded lubricants, to TruSouth in 2006. At that time, Calumet was phasing out its finished lubricants business in favor of focusing on refin-ing, and it now is renewing the effort. Shreveport, La.-based TruSouth makes motor oils, gear oils, engine oils, automotive fluids and specialties.

Calumet also last month finalized its purchase of Hercules synthetic lube business from Ashland, and will make ester based lubricants in a manufacturing facility in Louisiana, Mo., that was included in the deal. According to Ashland, the acquired business had annual revenue of about $50 million.

Calumet has a base oil plant in Shreveport with 7,000 barrels per day API Group II and 4,800 b/d Group I capacity, and another in Princeton, La., with 6,900 b/d naphthenic capacity.

Wallover Acquires Commonwealth Oil

Metalworking fluid and industrial lubricant manufacturer Wallover Oil Co., of Strongsville, Ohio, has acquired Commonwealth Oil of Harrow, Ontario. Founded in 1978, the Canadian firm serves the metalworking industry, especially the electrical discharge machining and tube forming segments.

Wallover President Eric Kielts commented, We are excited to add a company like Commonwealth Oil to our growing family. Its first-rate facility and strong Canadian presence will help us as we continue to expand our North American metalworking business.

Wallover expects to keep the Commonwealth operation intact, including all employees and distributors. The well-respected Commonwealth brand and the Canadian market are important to our plans moving forward. We intend to continue to invest in both, Kielts added.

Afton Opens R&D Lab in China

Afton Chemical has a new fuel and lubricant additive laboratory in Suzhou, China, to serve customers and OEMs in Asia Pacific. Located at Afton Chemical (Suzhou) Co. Ltd.s manufacturing facility in Suzhou Industrial Park, the lab is one of four sites acquired by Afton in its 2010 acquisition of Polartech Metalworking Additives. The new lab will replace an existing one in Shanghai, and perform services including sample blending, physical and chemical analysis, and performance testing. Rich Mendel, vice president and managing director of Afton Chemical Asia Pacific, noted that the facility will allow Afton to support fuels, metalworking, industrial, engine oils and driveline customers from one site.

Safety-Kleen Builds Blending Plant

Safety-Kleen is adding a $15 million blending plant at its East Chicago, Ind., rerefinery, enabling it to produce more than 20 million gallons per year of finished lubricants on its own, rather than use toll blenders. The plant aims to start up in July, according to Scott Miller, Safety-Kleens East Chicago director of refining. Theres a tremendous cost savings logistically, not having to ship the base oil off site, and also for what we pay the third-party blender. And we take control over our own destiny.

Safety-Kleens East Chicago, Ind., rerefinery has 800 b/d of API Group I and 4,200 b/d of Group II capacity. The new blend plant will use the rerefined base oil to make EcoPower motor oil, heavy-duty diesel oil and viscosity modifiers. We already blend hydraulics here, Miller noted.

In addition to East Chicago, Safety-Kleen has a rerefinery in Breslau, Canada, with 700 barrels per day of Group I and 1,200 b/d of Group II capacity. In July, it announced plans for a third rerefinery, possibly in the U.S. Southeast or Gulf Coast region.

ExMo Streamlines Itself

Exxon Mobil Corp. this month expects to consolidate its fuels, lubricants and petroleum specialties businesses into one company: ExxonMobil Fuels, Lubricants and Specialties Marketing Co., effective Feb. 1. A.J. (Alan) Kelly, president of ExxonMobil Lubricants and Petroleum Specialties Co., has been tapped as president of the combined operation. Kelly, 54, holds a bachelors degree from Bristol University in the U.K. and began his career with the company in 1981.

Ironsides Ups Grease Capacity

Ironsides Lubricants in November saw the arrival of a grease reactor vessel with high-speed impeller, the third at its Stockport, U.K., site. The specially equipped pressure vessels allow flexibility and speed in manufacturing grease soaps over traditional autoclave oven cooking methods, said the company, adding that it was the first in Europe to implement the technology, more than 30 years ago.

The new equipment enables Ironsides to more efficiently make both standard and specialty grease products, indicated Neil Cork, operations director, adding that the reactor is part of a major investment plan for the future. These measures will increase our capacity, and improve our versatility. They will help us to maintain our position as the U.K.s leading grease manufacturer, supplying own label and bespoke products to the oil industry both at home, and ever increasingly worldwide.

Help Solve a Friction Puzzle

Friction between lubricated surfaces is a big source of energy losses in fluid power systems, and research sponsored by the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) aims to solve that problem. One effort, led by Prof. William King at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is developing low-cost, microstructured surfaces having a significantly reduced coefficient of friction. The researchers now are seeking companies who may want to apply their ideas in industry.

It has long been known that when rough surfaces slide against each other, the roughness causes reduced friction, King explained. This shift arises from hydrodynamic effects caused by the roughness. Two promising technologies could harness this effect for industrial applications, he said. First, we have created a computational design tool that lets us start with the application parameters – machine speed, lubricant type, and so on – and choose the optimal microstructures. Second, we have developed a low-cost manufacturing technique to put these microstruc-tures onto machine components.

King and his team have fabricated micro-patterns on large surfaces of different shapes, including curved ones, and on many metals including stainless steel, cast iron, nickel alloys and tool steels. They are interested in working with companies which may have applications in mind for the research findings. For further information, see, Project 1D, Micro-and Nano-Texturing for Low-Friction Fluid Power Systems, or e-mail CCEFP Director Dr. Kim Stelson ( or King at

Venture Promises Green Surfactants

Will technology from the Yales Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering lead to improved emulsifiers for industrial lubricants? Thats the thinking of P2 Science Inc., a new company which has set up a laboratory in New Haven, Conn., to develop and commercialize surfactants based on naturally occurring carbohydrates such as corn syrup, sugar, soy and palm oil. It sees potential applications ranging from consumer to industrial uses, including lubricants, metalworking fluids, cleaners, mining and oilfield chemicals and others.

Based on chemicals called c-glycosides, the largely nonionic surfactants can be mild in use, stable, customizable and manufactured in low energy intensive conditions, the company says. Patrick Foley, the lead Yale inventor in the c-glycoside field, is P2s chief scientific officer, and Neil Burns, a 20-year veteran of the surfactants and oleochemicals industry, is the companys founding CEO. Elm Street Ventures supplied financing for P2s startup.

Briefly Noted

KBR will help build the new polyalphaolefin plant at ExxonMobils Baytown, Texas, refinery and chemicals complex. When completed in 2013, the facility will make ExxonMobil Chemicals high-viscosity metallocene PAO base stock. Technip USA is the prime contractor responsible for engineering, procurement and construction, while KBR will provide site work, civil, structural, pipe, electrical, instrumentation and mechanical installation, test and checkout services for the new facility.

Polaris Laboratories, the Indianapolis-based fluid analysis provider, has added a new laboratory in Guatemala City, its sixth facility since 1999. Polaris Tribology Laboratory Central America S.A. also will cover parts of Mexico and northern South America, serving customers involved in road transport, power generation, industrial, mining and construction, and agricultural applications such as the regions sugar cane industry.

Lubricants marketer MAL Pakistan is building a $3.3 million lubricants blending plant in Karachi, Pakistan, which will have a production capacity of 33 million liters of lubricants per year. It will also include a laboratory, logistics center and a customer training center. MAL Pakistan markets Mobil branded lubricants in the country, and has an existing blending plant there in Hub, Baluchistan.

Arizona Chemical has established a legal entity for doing business in China. The new Shanghai-based Arizona Chemical Ltd. is a Chinese trading company that provides local sales, marketing, technical and supply chain services to its Chinese customers. Thanks to the new entity, customers there now can place orders directly, take deliveries and transact in Chinese RMB.

Faces in the News

Whitmore Manufacturing Co. named Jeff Kilpatrick president and CEO, effective Jan. 3, replacing Jeff Peterson, who returned to parent company Capital Southwest Corp. Kilpatrick joins the Rockwall, Texas, specialty lube man-ufacturer after seven years with Media Recovery Inc. (another Capital Southwest portfolio company), and has prior experience with Saxon Publishers, Sprint Corp. and Arthur Andersen.

James V. Mustacchio, director of business development at Nyco America, was named CEO on Jan. 1. He takes over from William D. Manning, who retired at the end of 2011. Prior to joining the company, Mustacchio had a long career with Cities Service Co., Columbian Chemicals, and Hatco Corp.

Emerald Polymer Additives has named John Zuppo general manager for its lubricant and plastic antioxidants, responsible for overseeing current operations, product development and strategic direction for the products. Previously Emeralds vice president of procurement, Zuppo also worked at Ferro and Goodyear Tire.

Stephen Rober has been promoted to national sales manager for St. Louis-based Schaeffer Manufacturing, helping to oversee a 750-person sales force. A 30-year veteran of the automotive industry, Rober joined Schaeffer in 2007 as a sales representative, and became executive sales director in 2010.

Elgin, Ill.-based Heritage-Crystal Clean has made some changes in its executive suite, naming Greg Ray chief operating officer, Mark DeVita chief financial officer, and John Lucks senior vice president of sales and marketing. Greg Ray joined the company in 1999 and most recently was its chief financial officer. DeVita came aboard in 2000 and worked on business management and acquisitions. Lucks also joined the company in 2000, and recently was v.p. of sales and marketing.

Heritage-Crystal Clean also appointed Ellie Chaves to serve as both vice president of sales and vice president of oil. She also continues as chief accounting officer during the transition.

Mark Venske has joined PAC as vice president of sales and support for the Americas. He brings over 30 years of engineering, sales and customer support experience to the supplier of analytical instruments for laboratories and online processes.

William T. Brannen

William T. Bill Brannen, Ph.D., of Denver, Colo., died Dec. 28 at 75. In his 50-year career in the lubricants industry, he held positions with Amoco, Elco Corp. (where he worked for over 30 years and rose to president) and Gateway Additives. For the past 10 years he was with Petroleum Chemicals. Holder of 16 U.S. patents and widely published, Brannen was active in ILMA, NLGI, STLE and ACS. He is survived by his companion Janet Fraser, a brother and sister, five children and 11 grandchildren.


Novembers article PAOs Bulk Up misreported the grades of polyalphaolefin coming in 2013 from ExxonMobils new plant in Baytown, Texas. The facility initially will focus on producing SpectraSyn Elite mPAO in a 150 cSt grade.

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