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Valvoline Leaps over BP into Russia

Ashland Inc. and TNK-BP have inked a five-year agreement for the latter to distribute Valvoline passenger car products in Russia, including engine oils, transmission oils, brake fluids, car and engine care products and coolants. Ashland Consumer Markets owns the Valvoline brand, and Moscow-based TNK-BP is a 50-50 joint venture between BP and a consortium of Russian businessmen.

Since BP owns BP Castrol, the Valvoline deal caused a stir over why TNK-BP would sign up with a fierce Castrol competitor. The lubricants business is not part of the J.V.s shareholder agreement, clarified Alfredo Barrios, TNK-BPs executive vice president for down-stream operations. The TNK network will market Valvoline products, he said, while BPs network markets its Castrol lubricants.

Russia is the biggest passenger car lubricants market in Europe, observed Sam Mitchell, president of Ashland Consumer Markets, and the deal gives Valvoline access to 15,000 retail stores across the country. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Argentina Grabs YPF

Citing national public interest, President Cristina Kirchner of Argentina in mid-April pronounced the expropriation of oil and gas company YPF S.A., 57 percent of which is owned by Spains Repsol. In addition to its other activities, YPF is Argentinas leading lubricants supplier and operates one of the countrys three base oil plants.

Originally a government entity, YPF became a private enterprise in 1993 and merged with Repsol in 1999. The integrated oil companys assets include an API Group I base oil plant in La Plata, Argentina, with 4,700 barrels per day capacity.

Repsol strongly decried Kirchners action, and vowed to take legal action against the manifestly unlawful and gravely discriminatory measure. The government of Spain labeled the expropriation a hostile decision against Repsol, against a Spanish company, and therefore against Spain and the government of Spain. Repsols stake in YPF was valued at US $5.4 billion as of Dec. 31, but the pronouncement left it with only 6 percent of the company.

YPF claims to be Argentinas lubricants leader, with 38 percent of the overall lubes market in 2011. It has a broad network of service stations which perform engine oil changes and other fluid services, and also partners with many automotive OEMs, such as GM, Ford and VW, to supply lubricants for factory fill, and with deal-erships for service fill.

Phillips 66 Rises Anew

On May 1, Conoco-Phillips officially split its upstream and downstream operations into two entities, and the latter began trading that day as Phillips 66. Headquartered in Houston, Phillips 66 retains its predecessors large stable of lubricants and extensive marketing network. Our lubricants customers should expect to continue receiving reliable, quality products. Our goal is to make this a seamless process for our customers, a company spokeswoman said.

Phillips 66 sells engine oils, aviation oils, power transmission fluids, industrial lubricants and greases under the Kendall, Conoco, Phillips 66, 76 Lubricants and other brands. It also makes and markets base oils and petrochemicals.

There will be no change to the base oil business, a Phillips 66 source assured. Phillips 66 base oil and lubricants will be the same as far as the marketplace is concerned. The base oil lineup includes Pure Performance-brand API Group II base oils, made at the Excel Paralubes joint venture in Lake Charles, La., which Phillips 66 now owns 50/50 with Flint Hills Resources; and Ultra-S Group III base oils, which Phillips 66 distributes exclusively in North America for South Koreas S-Oil.

ConocoPhillips was created in 2002 out of the merger of Phillips Petroleum Co., which was founded in 1917, and Conoco, which was formed in 1929.

New HQ for Colorado Petroleum

Lubricants blender and distributor Colorado Petroleum has moved into a new headquarters location in Denver that includes a tank farm with more than 1 million gallons capacity. The site includes a 230,000 square foot headquarters building, 185,000 sq.ft. of warehouse space, 30,000-gallon blending tanks, four bottling lines, a quality control laboratory and a tank truck and rail car depot. The location boasts advanced blending technology and state-of-the-art filtering systems as well.

The new building is more than triple the size of CPs former home, where it had resided since 1960. The steady growth of Colorado Petroleums products, coupled with years of profitability as a corporation, have positioned us to make this move at a very strategic time, said Clark Thompson, company CEO.

The company blends and distributes finished lubricants for automotive, heavy-duty and industrial markets in Colorado, Arizona, Wyoming, California, Utah and Nevada. It focuses on private labeling for OEMs, retailers and supermarket chains, among other customers.

Downey Departs Kline

William R. Downey Jr. has left Kline & Co. to become a partner in Roland Berger Strategy Consultants chemicals and oils division, based in New York City. Downey, a senior vice president and 24-year veteran at Kline, specialized in lubricants, waxes and petroleum specialties. He is well known as a moderator and speaker at lubricant industry conferences. Roland Berger, headquartered in Munich, Germany, has 2,500 employees in 35 countries.

Two other Kline executives also moved to Roland Berger: Jonathan Goldhill, head of Klines strategy practice, and Gillian Morris, a vice president in its chemicals and mate-rials division.

Well have the ability to expand Roland Bergers services to the downstream petroleum sector and to bring new thinking to different clients, Downey told Lube Report, adding, With the big regulatory changes coming in Europe and North America, thats an area where we can bring value to the lubricant industry.

Kline wishes Bill Downey well in his new endeavors. We expect to carry on normally and successfully for our clients, said a Kline spokeswoman in Parsippany, N.J.

Universal Buys Used Oil Business

Lubricant blender, distributor and rerefiner Universal Lubricants, of Wichita, Kans., on May 2 announced it had acquired used oil processor Midstate Environmental Services, of Robstown, Texas. The acquisition added eight facilities and enlarged its footprint to 16 states. Midstate, the largest used oil collector in Texas, will continue to operate under its own name, with its employees and facilities integrated into Universals operations.

The Midstate acquisition is another step in ULs strategic plan to become one of Americas premier providers of top-quality lubricants using rerefined base oils, said John Wesley, CEO of Universal Lubricants.

ULs Wichita rerefinery makes API Group II base oils, and it plans soon to build a second one, he told Lube Report. This new rerefinerys location and size have not been revealed, but Midstate would supply feedstock for the new plant, which should be operational by late 2013 or early 2014, Wesley stated.

Munzing Signs Distributor

Munzing Inc. has chosen Petroleum Chemicals as its exclusive North American distributor of Foam Ban defoamers for the nonaqueous lubricant and automotive packages market. We are very pleased that Munzing chose us to distribute these fine products, said Bob Scheetz, president of Petroleum Chemicals in Sacramento, Calif. The addition of Foam Ban defoamers to our portfolio enables us to provide more value and solutions to our customers.

The products include silicone, modified siloxane, fluorosilicone and polyacrylate defoamer technologies for hydraulic fluids, gear oils, transmission fluids, engine oils, additive packages, turbine oils, and compressor oils.

Anton Paar Plucks Petrotest

Anton Paar, which supplies high-precision instruments to measure density and concentration, rheology and other properties, recently acquired the Petrotest Group for an undisclosed amount. Petrotest has become Petrotest GmbH, and contin-ues operating from its headquarters in Dahlewitz, near Berlin. An expansion of the premises is planned.

The acquisition made Petrotest the 17th unit in the Anton Paar group, and represents the largest purchase in the instrument companys history. Petrotest, a family company established in 1873 by Berthold Pensky, is well known for producing equipment for determining the flash point of petroleum products using the Pensky-Martens method.

More Grease for Russia

A joint venture between Lukoil and the state Russian Railways is investing 1 billion rubles (US $316 million) in a grease production plant expected to stream this summer in Volgograd, Russia. The 30,000 metric ton per year plant will produce greases for rail transportation, oil exploration and production, metallurgy, and the machine building industry, as well as greases for general purposes, both companies said.

Houston-based FMC Technologies Inc., together with Lukoils project developer, is providing technologies for the design, building and operation of the new facility. Lukoil owns 75 percent of the project and Russian Railways 25 percent.

PAC Adds Cambridge Vis

Cambridge Viscosity Inc., which specializes in small-sample fluid viscosity measurement, is now part of the PAC Group, which supplies analytical instruments for labs and online process applications. Cambridge Viscosity offers electromagnetic-based sensor technology and several lines of viscometers; these will continue to be branded as Cambridge Viscosity under the PAC name.

Cambridge Viscosity will continue to advance our technology, products, and services to meet the needs of our customers while capitalizing on PACs global reach and technology base, stated Robert Kasameyer, president of CVI.

Houston-based PAC markets over 200 instruments, and serves the refining, petrochemical, biofuels, environmental and other industries. Its portfolio includes AC Analytical Controls, Antek, Alcor, Cambridge Viscosity, PetroSpec, PSPI, ISL and Walter Herzog.

Faces in the News

Scott Carter, formerly of Total Lubricants USA, is the new base oil sales manager at PBF Energy, owner of the Paulsboro Refining base oil plant in New Jersey. Carter brings over 15 years experience to PBF, and takes over from Dick Henke, who has retired.

Dominique Fournier, CEO of Infineum International from 2005 until his retirement in 2011, has become executive advisor to CCMP Capital Advisors UK. He also has joined the board of directors of Kraton Performance Polymers Inc., the global producer of styrenic block copolymers.

Michael Head is now senior silicones chemist at Emerald Specialties, responsible for technical support and growth for its Masil products used to provide flow, wetting, emulsification and lubricity. Previously Head was with Wacker Silicones, Millikin, SIP and Kelmar Industries; he also served in the U.S. Air Force for 14 years.

In addition to moving to new offices in Bonita Springs, Fla., GHS Resources Inc. recently increased its staff, adding Amy Lucky as client coordinator and Dan Lucky as technical coordinator. Both will focus on client projects to create and generate MSDS that comply with the new Global Harmonization Standard, published March 26 by OSHA in the Federal Register. Also, Carole Poole, formerly of Quaker Chemical, has also joined GHS to provide advanced occupational safety and health expertise to help clients develop needed training and other programs under the OSHA rule.

Shrieve Chemical has tapped Archie Roberts, owner of New Leaf Chemical in League City, Texas, as its business development representative. With 40 years experience in the chemical industry, including 27 with BASF, Roberts will expand Shrieves presence in PIB, PAG and other specialties for refrigeration systems.

Specialty chemical distributor Walsh & Associates has hired Tim Frost as sales representative for its St. Louis sales region. He has over 20 years of experience in the chemical industry, including senior sales and management positions.

Shell Lubricants appointed Nitin Prasad as country head, India. Previously with the companys Chemicals Supply Chain segment, he will focus on brand building, technology partnerships with key customers, and introducing new offerings for Indias lubricant consumers.

Steven R. Mills has joined the renewable hydrocarbons company Amyris Inc. as chief financial officer, replacing Jeryl Hilleman who in August said she would step down from the post. Mills spent 30 years at ADM in various senior financial posts, including CFO.

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