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Fire KOs Richmond

A fire at Chevrons Richmond, Calif., refinery has knocked the facility off line, although the long-term impact remains to be determined. The massive fire broke out Aug. 6 in Richmonds No. 4 Crude Unit, which processes diesel oil. At press time, sources had not determined or confirmed whether this incident will impact production of base oils. The refinery, which is located north of San Francisco, includes a base oil unit with capacity to make 20,000 barrels per day of API Group II. It is the only paraffinic base oil refinery on the U.S. West Coast.

All employees and contractors were safely accounted for. Chevron said three employees sustained minor injuries and were treated on site. The refinery employs 2,700 people and 850 contract workers.

Afton to Build in Singapore

Afton Chemical plans to invest more than $100 million to construct a new lubricant additive manufacturing facility on Jurong Island, Singapore, with initial output to include engine oil and driveline additives.

Groundbreaking is slated for third-quarter 2013, and the plant is expected to be operational by mid-2015. Although the initial capacity will represent a modest increase in our overall global production, a company spokeswoman said the plant will be scalable and flexible, to allow expansion.

Approved in mid-July by parent company New -Market, the facility will be fully owned and operated by Afton. This represents an investment that is likely to be in excess of U.S. $100 million for Afton Chemical, and another strong commitment by our board to this key market, said Warren Huang, Afton president.

In Asia, Afton already has manufacturing in Suzhou, China, and Jurong Island, Singapore (operated by Chemical Specialties Singapore); technical centers in Japan and China; sales offices in China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Thailand; and a regional headquarters in Singapore.

Chemoil Buys into Chemlube

Marine fuel supplier Chemoil Energy Ltd. has acquired a 50 percent stake in Chemlube International and sister company Sopetra S.A. The deal provides $16.4 million in seed money to the latter two, and could lead them into the marine lubes business. Both sides think we may be able eventually to develop some synergies, said Chemlube Senior Vice President Vin Gilooley. Its possible that at some point we would start making marine lubricants.

Based in Singapore, Chemoil blends, stores and markets marine fuel on four continents. Chemlube, of Harrison, N.Y., is an importer, exporter and distributor of base oils. It also operates a lubricants blending plant in Savannah, Ga. Based in Villars-sur-Glane, Switzerland, Sopetra handles international operations, including base oil supply and consulting.

Chemoil said Aug. 2 that it invested $8.3 million in Chemlube and $8.1 million in Sopetra. Existing management at both companies will remain in place.

S-Oil, Cosan Cozy Up

Cosan has signed a partnership agreement with South Koreas S-Oil to distribute Ultra-S API Group III base oil in Brazil.

With this agreement, Cosan LE will offer a complete line of base oils within the Brazilian market, said a spokesman for Cosan Lubrificantes eEspecialidades S.A., part of Cosan Group. The company currently markets ExxonMobil Group I and II base stocks in Brazil. It estimates that Group III will represent around 6 percent of Brazils total base oil consumption in 2012.

A Kline Group analyst notes that Brazil is a rapidly growing country market with a modern and expanding car population and large vehicle-manufacturing base. Given the demand for synthetics is strong and growing, it makes sense for Cosan to secure a supply of Group III base stock, said George Morvey, a U.S.-based project manager with Klines Petroleum and Energy Practice.

Kluber Eyes U.S. Growth

Freudenberg North America anticipates hiring more employees and spending more capital over the next two years in New Hampshire, including for its Kluber Lubrication facility in Londonderry. Freudenberg operates three companies – Kluber Lubrication, Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies and the j.v. Trelleborg Vibracoustic – with a total of seven industrial facilities and 1,300 employees in the state. Kluber Lubrication is part of Freudenberg Chemical Specialties.

All of our businesses in New Hampshire are expecting to grow, said Leesa Smith, president of Freudenberg North America. We are looking to hire about 100 people over the next two to three years. She said Kluber Lubrication currently employs about 50 people at the Londonderry plant, with 20 more who are considered boots on the street.

Potentially, Kluber Lubrication could add a 10,000 square foot office building to its existing site, to support growing sales in North America. It also will seek to hire application and service engineers to focus on tribological issues.

Klubers parent company is headquartered in Munich, Germany, and known for developing and manufacturing specialty lubricants, many of them tailored to niche applications.

Parker Hannifin Buys Kittiwake

Kittiwake Group, known for its expertise in machinery condition monitoring, fuel and lube oil analysis, emissions monitoring and onboard testing, has been acquired by Parker Hannifin Corp., becoming part of the latters Filtration Group. Included in the deal were Kittiwake Developments, Kittiwake Procal, Kittiwake Holroyd and Kittiwake Inc.

The two complement each other, with similar markets but distinct products. Kittiwake offers condition monitoring technologies including wear debris sensors, oil testing and instrumentation; these are used alongside Parker Hannifins filtration systems in commercial, marine, oil and gas, power generation and defense applications. Together, the companies say theyll be able to offer customers a complete health monitoring solution.

Kittiwake, with annual sales of approximately $20 million, employs 95 people. Parker Hannifin had fiscal 2011 sales of $12 billion and employs around 58,000 worldwide. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Fuchs Putting $5M into Australia

Germanys Fuchs Petrolub plans to spend A.$5 million in Australia for an expansion of its Sunshine facility and a major redevelopment of its Newcastle site. Global CEO Stefan Fuchs announced the plans during a presentation to staff at the 2012 Fuchs Australasia National Sales conference. Newcastle is in New South Wales, and Sunshine is a suburb of Melbourne. Both locations include lubricants blending and filling plants. This expansion follows the launch last year of a regional lubricant laboratory and technical center in Sunshine.

According to Kline and Co., Australias total lubricants market was estimated to be 395,000 metric tons in 2011, including the consumer automotive segment at 109,000 metric tons, commercial automotive at 115,000 tons and industrial at 171,000 tons. Australias top lube marketers in terms of market share are BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Fuchs and Valvoline.

BG: 7,500-mile Intervals OK

BG Products, the Wichita, Kan.-based automotive lubricant blender and marketer, will allow consumers of its BG MOA PN110 product to extend oil changes up to 7,500 miles (12,000 km) and still be eligible for up to $4,000 in warranty coverage for oil-related engine damage, at no additional charge. Thats a boost of 2,500 miles over the programs former limit, the company noted.

Oil change interval recommendations from the auto manufacturers are changing, said the companys Dustin Willhite. Many have increased to 7,500 miles. We have to make sure that we keep up with the times by ensuring our product quality and product recommendations are appropriate. The new limits apply to any BG Oil Service, which is available at some 20,000 service shops around the United States and provides a Lifetime BG Protection Plan for engine parts.

Kazakh Base Oil Advances

South Koreas Hyundai Engineering Co. has been awarded a contract to build a 4,000 b/d API Group II/III base oil plant in Kazakhstan, according to an official with knowledge of the deal. The plant will use Chevron Lummus technology and will be the countrys first base oil production.

It is certain the Koreans will build the base oil plant in Shymkent, said Rahimzhan Nupbayev, ex-director of Hill Corp., the countrys only lube producer. However, Nupbayev declined to provide details, saying he is not authorized to speak with reporters.

The project is a partnership between Hill (short for High Industrial Lubricants & Liquids) and the state energy giant KazMunayGas. Construction of the $895 million base oil plant is expected to start late 2012 or early 2013, according to Hammat Magmanov, Hills chief technologist.

Hills $20 million blending plant, also located in Shymkent, opened last year.

LLK Lands Magnitogorsk

An effort to compete head-on with imported lubricants is showing results for Russias biggest lubricants marketer: LLK-International recently inked a supply contract with Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works (MMK), one of the countrys largest iron and steel producers. LLK-International is the lubricants arm of oil major Lukoil.

Under the one-year contract that began June 1, the company will deliver 1,200 metric tons of oils to MMK for industrial and automotive hydraulic systems, Lukoil said in a press release. LLK also will supply oils for steam and gas turbines, industrial recirculation oils for rolling mills and oils for heavy loaded industrial gears.

Crown Takes on Cooke

Lubricants blender Crown Oil UK acquired key assets of lubricants distributor Samuel Cooke and Co., a firm that dated back to 1845 but had gone into administration in July. Terms were not disclosed. The acquired assets included the brand name, a site in Padiham, U.K., and customer lists. A small number of Samuel Cooke employees joined Crown Oil as well, and the new subsidiary will operate as Cooke Fuels & Lubricants Ltd.

Bury-based Crown Oil blends its own-brand lubricants, and also distributes the Q8Oils line of products, which is owned by Kuwait Petroleum International Lubricants (UK) Ltd.

Briefly Noted

Dow Chemical has added Ucon oil-soluble polyalkylene glycols (OSP) to the slate of products that e-distributor ChemPoint handles on its behalf in North America. Launched in 2010, the unique PAG synthetics are used in engine oils, metalworking fluids, gear lubes, turbine oils and other lubricants.

Tampa, Fla.-based Amalie Oil has acquired the assets of Global GL LLC (dba Greased Lightning), maker of automotive aftermarket additives and chemicals, for an undisclosed amount.

Fuel distributor and truck stop operator Pilot Flying J. will acquire controlling interest in lubes distributor Maxum Petroleum, for an undisclosed amount.

Indianapolis-based Polaris Laboratories has opened its seventh lubricant testing facility, this one in Moscow.

SKF Opens Ohio Facility

SKF last month opened its newest SKF Solution Factory. Located near Cleveland, the facility brings together an array of technical resources for improving machine productivity. It aims to serve a range of industries including machine tool, food and beverage, mining, metals and others. One way it will do this is by bring ing various tribology disciplines – bearing design, materials engineering, sealing, lubrication and more – under one roof.

The SKF Solution Factory is another way for us to provide customers with the resources they need to meet machinery performance and operating efficiency goals, said Poul Jeppesen, president and CEO of SKF North America.

The Ohio site offers an extensive range of services, including bearing application support, customized machined sealing solutions, spindle and ball screw repair, mechanical equipment services, engineering consultancy, remote diagnostics and monitoring, and a full spectrum of training courses and seminars. Located in Highland Heights, this is SKFs second Solutions Factory in the United States (the other is in Houston) and its 17th worldwide.

Faces in the News

NewMarket Corp., parent company of Afton Chemical, has picked Robert A. Shama to become Aftons new president. Hell succeed C.S. Warren Huang, who is to retire from the additive company on April 1. Shama is Afton Chemicals senior vice president, North America, and has over 32 years of chemical industry experience, 21 of them with Afton. He also serves as chief marketing officer, responsible for global activities. Shama will become president on Jan. 1, at which time Huang will take a senior advisory role.

Huang has been with the Richmond, Va., based company for 32 years, and held executive roles in R&D, Asia Pacific, and fuel additives before becoming president. He was instrumental in the creation of Afton Chemical in 2004 (from the former Ethyl Corp.), and under his leadership since, sales revenue have grown by more than 175 percent, surpassing $2 billion in 2011.

Also, Ken Cundy has been promoted to vice president, North America, at Afton Chemical. Cundy has been with Afton for 12 years, and has served for the past eight as director of sales for independent lubricant marketers in North America and Canada.

John Massel has been tapped as president of Warren Unilube, a subsidiary of Warren Oil Co. Massel, who holds an MBA from Indiana Univ., brings more than 24 years experience in the lubricants industry to the West Memphis, Ark., lubricant blending and packaging company. He has been active in the Petroleum Packaging Council, and most recently was with Pinnacle Oil in Indianapolis. Kluber Lubrication has appointed Toby Porter as food market manager, and Ben Bryant as marine market manager. Porter has been with the Londonderry, N.H., company for more than 10 years, and has held a range of positions in production, supply chain and pricing. Bryant has experience on a variety of marine vessels and joins Kluber from the oil spill response industry. Hell be responsible for launching a new portfolio of environmentally acceptable lubricants for the marine industry.

Koda Distribution Group, which distributes chemicals, has named Frank Bergonzi to be its president and CEO. Among its operations, Koda owns Monson Companies, which distributes specialty base oils and additives for manufacturing lubricants.

Following the resignation of Mark Featherstone, Quaker Chemical Corp. has named Margaret (Margo) Loebl to fill his position as vice president, CFO and treasurer. She also joins the companys board of directors. Loebl holds an MBA from the Univ. of Chicago Booth School of Business, and has executive experience with U.S. and international companies, including Archer Daniels Midland, Nike, General Motors and, most recently, Constellium and TechTeam Global.

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