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Pemex Joining Group II Club

Pemex Refinacion will expand and upgrade its Salamanca base oil plant – the only one in Mexico – to make API Group II stocks. The company, part of Mexicos national oil company, has contracted to use Chevron Lummus Global technology for the project, including Iso-cracking, Isodewaxing and Isofinishing processes, CLG said in late September. Completion dates for the project were not given, but it could involve more than 13,600 barrels per day of Group II capacity. Salamanca now has 6,000 b/d of Group I capacity.

Clean Harbors Owns Evergreen

Norwell, Mass.-based Clean Harbors acquired rerefiner Evergreen Oil out of bankruptcy for $60 million cash. The transaction gives Clean Harbors a third rerefinery in North America, along with Safety-Kleens two in East Chicago, Ind., and Breslau, Canada.

Evergreen Oil and parent Evergreen Environmental Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April, and Clean Harbors was the winning bidder for their assets, including the Newark, Calif., rerefinery with 1,150 b/d of API Group II capacity. The acquisition includes the second-largest collector of waste oil in the state and the necessary permits to dispose, treat and store used oil – important because Californias stringent permitting requirements create barriers to entry, Clean Harbors said.

Petronas Expansion On Hold

Citing market uncertainty, Petronas postponed an expansion of its base oil plant in Melaka, Malaysia, a decision that appears to reflect the global oversupply of Group III oils. Recent reports suggested that the project would have raised the plants Group III capacity 15 percent, to 310,000 t/y, but a December 2011 article from Singapores Business Times cited a Petronas official saying capacity would increase to 380,000 t/y – a nearly 40 percent gain.

Industry observers called the move a prudent one. I am not at all surprised by the announcement, said Geeta Agashe, Kline & Co.s senior vice president of energy. Petronas have some very capable strategists and they have seen the writing on the wall. My Energys Amy Claxton agreed, and suggested additional motives. She observed that other investments at the Melaka refinery seem to be on hold as well, while Petronas pursues several large upstream projects. The upstream efforts may have diverted capital funds from the base oil operation, Claxton surmised.

Michigan Yanks Subpar Lubes

The state of Michigan banned sales of automotive lubricants from three companies after concluding that the products did not conform to claims on their own labels and could harm vehicles. The Michigan Dept. of Agriculture & Rural Development issued stop-use orders Sept. 12 against City Petroleum of Dearborn and Star Petroleum of Detroit, and on Oct. 7 against Bullseye Automotive Lubricants of Chicago Ridge, Ill.

In all three cases, the department said, its investigations found bottles of those brands did not contain the volume of fluid claimed on their labels. It also found that the products did not meet promised viscosity grades or other engine oil specifications. These products may cause damage to vehicle engines, the department said of City Petroleum and Star Petroleum motor oils. The latters Rianda Faraj told Lube Report that the Star Petroleum brand was intended to be a low-end product but insisted that the company had not misrepresented the products.

Rain Delay Hits NexLube

NexLube says it now expects to launch its base oil rerefinery in Tampa, Fla., in July, due to weather and equipment delays. Weve had a lot of weather delays – a lot of rain – and a couple equipment delays, NexLube President Monte Bell said last month. We would expect full commercial operation July 1, 2014. When complete, the facility is expected to process 24 million gallons of used oil and produce about 20 million gallons a year of API Group II base oil.

HollyFrontier Mulls Group III

HollyFrontier is pursuing an ambitious capital investments plan, and eyeing possible Group III production at its refinery in Utah. In September, HollyFrontier told investors of plans to increase fuels capacity at its Woods Cross, Utah, refinery by 2015, and then to go on to construct a Group III base oil plant by 2016. HollyFrontier officials would not discuss the plants potential base oil capacity, but a recent Kline & Co. forecast of future global Group III supply projected that Woods Cross could produce up to 470,000 t/y of Group III base oil by 2020.

HollyFrontier meanwhile is investing in base oil refining in Tulsa, Okla. It recently installed a heavy oil vacuum tower, allowing Tulsas 9,500 b/d Group I plant to expand bright stock production.

Vanderbilt to Shift Manufacturing

Vanderbilt Chemicals on Oct. 4 said it will consolidate commercial production of chemicals at a single location: its newly upgraded plant in Murray, Ky. The company, which makes lubricant additives under the Vanlube, Molyvan and other trade names, will diminish commercial production at its plant in Bethel, Conn., by the end of 2014 and transfer that displaced volume into the expanded Murray plant. Vanderbilt will maintain a pilot plant and laboratory in Bethel to support the business, said Ken Kelly, president of the Norwalk, Conn., firm.

The Murray facility was built in 1969 and was recently expanded through a multi-million dollar upgrade; four of nine production lines are now completely automated. In addition to friction modifiers, antiwear, corrosion inhibitors and EP agents for lubricants and greases, it makes additives used in rubber, plastics, paint and coatings.

While we regret having to make this decision, consolidating our commercial production of chemicals in Murray will enhance our efficiency and provide growth opportunities for the future, said Kelly. We do not expect any interruption in service or impact on our customers.

ECL Snaps Up Christo-Lube

Aurora, Ill.-based Engineered Custom Lubricants has acquired Lubricant Technology Inc. and its Christo-Lube brand of synthetic lubes and greases, for an undisclosed price. ECL plans to expand LTIs three-acre fluorinated chemicals plant in Franklin Furnace, Ohio, where it develops, manufactures and markets the Christo-Lube brand. LTI formulates synthetic lubricants from fluorinated polysiloxanes, perfluoropolyethers, esters, polyalphaolefins and hydrocarbon co-oligomers; its products go into high-temperature applications such as military aircraft, aerospace and other industries.

ECLs owners are Paul Bedford and Ian Rowell, two former BP executives who bought the company three years ago. Bedford said the company expects revenue to grow from $4.9 million in 2009 to around $30 million next year with the LTI acquisition. The acquisition also fits ECLs overall growth strategy, which hopes to see another buy soon, possibly in western Europe.

Fade-out at Biolube Center

After 22 years, the University of Northern Iowas National Ag-Based Lubricants Research Center will be phased out, follow ing the expiration of two key federal grants. Established in 1991 and expanded into a national facility in 2006, the center designed and patented many lubricants based on soybean oil, including tractor hydraulic fluids, transformer oils, greases and more.

The U.S. Agriculture, Energy and Transportation departments were among the agencies that supported the center over the years, but Lou Honary, a professor at the university and director of the center, said money dried up because of government budget sequestration and cut-backs in support for research. Honary is also chairman and co-founder of Environmental Lubricants Manufacturing, a private business formed in 2000 to commercialize the soybean-based lubricant and grease technology developed at the center. ELM continues to operate.

Grease Conference Seeks Papers

Authors are invited to submit technical, manufacturing and marketing papers for the National Lubricating Grease Institutes 81st Annual Meeting, June 14-17 in Palm Beach Gardens, 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 Wayne Mackwood of Chemtura Canada 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, Mackwood said. Papers presented at the annual meeting will also be peer reviewed for publication in NLGIs prestigious technical journal, The Spokesman. For details or to offer a paper, e-mail or NLGI executive director Kim Bott ( Web: call-for-papers/

Boss Expands in Alberta

Boss Lubricants in late September announced that its newest warehouse and blending facility has begun operating in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. This location achieves our strategic objectives to expand our footprint in the Canadian lubricant market and help us grow our opportunities to supply and service the northern Alberta market, said Jarrett Flegel, president and COO. The facility features an innovative racking storage system, bulk terminalling and blending capabilities, he added.

Faces in the News

Christopher Mitchell is now president and general manager of Rhein Chemie Corp. in Chardon, Ohio, heading the additive companys North and South American operations. With over 40 years of industry experience in sales and management, he previously served as group business manager for its rubber additives in NAFTA. Mitchell holds a bachelors in business management from the Univ. of Akron.

Susan R. Nauman is taking the reins as executive director of the Industrial Packaging Alliance of North America, replacing John A. McQuaid, who is stepping down after 10 years at the IPANA helm. She comes to IPANA with 30 years of engineering and technical experience in industrial packaging. Over the next months, McQuaid will continue in an advisory role for the group, which also is moving its offices from Arlington, Va., to Severna Park, Md., near Washington, D.C.

David J. DuBois has been promoted to director of sales at American Refining Group, tasked with oversight of sales and customer services, sales forecasting, strategizing and process consistency. DuBois joined the specialty refiner and blender in 2005 and most recently was product manager for its Kendex specialty solvents.

Daniel Hultin was named regional sales manager for western Pennsylvania and western New York by Ohio lubricant company Wallover Oil. He brings Wallover 15 years of sales experience in industrial manufacturing and distribution.

Rajiv Sachanandani, known to many by his nick-name Raj Sach, has joined Petroleum Chemicals as technical representative, providing customers with formulation development and applications support. Based in Houston, he comes to the additives supplier from Delfin Group USA.

Spectrum Corp. named Roger Tucker its director of technology. He has more than 30 years of industry experience, including stints at Texaco, Coastal Unilube and Citgo.

Chicago STLE Sets Course

Metalworking Fluid Formulation, Strategies and Current Issues takes center stage on Thursday, Jan. 16. The one-day education course from STLEs Chicago Section will cover hazard communication, biocide re-registration and other hot-button issues. Experts will present topics from basic formulation approaches to how current trends are affecting additive availability and use. The program is intended for anyone involved with formulation or maintenance and service of metalworking fluids, as well as end users desiring a deeper understanding of fluid composition, says Ted McClure of TribSys LLC, one of the organizers. STLE member cost is just $200 (non-members: $250) and includes continental breakfast, lunch and breaks. The venue is Argonne National Laboratories, convenient to Chicago airports, adds McClure, and reasonably priced rooms will be available at the Argonne Guest House. Register from Nov. 1 at For information, e-mail McClure at or Radcos Mike Damiani (mdamiani@radcoind .com).

Briefly Noted

Ineos Oligomers has selected North Olmsted, Ohio-based Palmer Holland as U.S. distributor for its Indopol polyisobutenes. Manufactured by Ineos in Lavera, France, the PIBs are synthetic liquid hydro-carbon polymers which are used in lubricants, additives and myriad other applications.

Pinto Energy last month announced plans to build a 2,800 b/d gas-to-liquids plant in Ashtabula, Ohio, with start-up expected in early 2016. When complete, the plants product mix could include diesel, solvents and probably lubricant base oils, said Chairman Guy Dove.

Fuchs Petrolub has opened a new lubricants plant in Russia to offer more products for local and regional markets. The $20.4 million blending plant near Kaluga, a city 180 kilometers southeast of Moscow, will have initial production of 12,000 metric tons per year of finished products; that later could rise to 40,000 t/y. Mannheim, Germany-based Fuchs is one of the worlds biggest independent lubricant suppliers.

Indias Century Refineries broke ground last month on a $1.7 million used oil rerefinery outside Bay City, Texas. Initially, the plant will rerefine around 8 million gallons of used motor oil per year. Plans are for vacuum gas oil production to begin by April 2014, and base oil production could be added in the future, the company said.

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