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API Finds 20% of Bulk Oils Bad

The American Petroleum Institutes annual motor oil testing program found almost one in five samples of bulk motor oil purchased from the North American marketplace in each of the last five years failed to meet API motor oil perfor-mance standards.

API said it purchased and tested more than 1,000 motor oils dispensed from bulk tanks in North America over that time. It then compared test results against thousands of licensed oil formulations to determine the identity of the oils and to check if the samples met the perfor-mance level claimed.

API is concerned about the high levels of failure we are finding in our audit results, Kevin Ferrick, APIs engine oil licensing and cer-tification system manager, said in an Oct. 21 news release. API is sharing these audit findings with the public as part of its new Motor Oil Matters pro-gram, which helps reduce the risk of consumers receiving oil that doesnt meet their cars perfor-mance requirements.

He said API hasnt broken down the sample failures by type. Some were certainly critical fails, while oth-ers would have been less severe failures, he noted.

Under the MOM pro-gram, distributors and installers register for licensing and display a trademarked logo that sig-nals to buyers their partici-pation in the quality moni-toring program. The MOM process includes random product tests, supply and delivery audits and careful screening.

Kidney Harm from Metalworking Fluid?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded George Washington University a $1.3 million grant to study whether exposure to metalworking fluids leads to serious kid-ney illnesses. In a four-year epidemiological study, GWUs School of Public Health and Health Services will link collected data to medical registries to deter-mine if approximately 46,000 autoworkers exposed to metalworking fluids in the workplace were more likely to develop end-stage renal disease and renal cell carcinoma.

Metalworking fluids are extremely complex mix-tures, and the risks of con-tact and exposures to these chemicals may have changed over time, said Kate Applebaum, an occu-pational epidemiologist, assistant professor of envi-ronmental and occupational health at GWU and principal investigator of the study. Its important that we try to get a better understanding of the possible impacts that come from contact with these fluids.

The theory that exposures to metalworking fluids may have serious health risks has existed for some time, Applebaum told Lube Report, but the outcomes to the renal system from those exposures, and whether or not a causal relationship between contact and kidney disease exists, is vastly understudied.

Preliminary findings of the study wont be released for at least a year, or possibly two, she added, and may mark the beginning of a larger study.

Neste, Takreer Edge Away

Finlands Neste Oil has confirmed it will not be marketing API Group II and Group III base oils produced at Takreers new plant at Ruwais, United Arab Emirates, as originally expected. The plant, wholly owned by Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (Adnoc), will produce up to 500,000 metric tons per year of Group III and 100,000 t/y of Group II base oils.

The two companies appear to have reached deadlock over owner-ship of the marketing rights for the base oil. An executive at Adnocs marketing and refining directorate who asked not to be named, said dis-cussions lasted more than two years, but we were clear we would not give marketing to a third party. However, Ulla Kotila, a spokeswoman for Neste, said her company viewed it differently. Due to overcapacity in the market we didnt see demand for the entire output in the short term and decided to go for other commer-cial alternatives for meeting long-term growth.

Production at the Takreer plant, originally scheduled to commence by the end of this year, will begin some-time in first-half 2014, the Adnoc executive said.

Warren Enters Grease Arena

Warren Oil has completed an addition to its West Memphis, Ark., facility that enables it to pro-duce 10 million pounds of grease per year. The new unit will allow the Dunn N.C.-based lube manufacturer to complete its portfolio of offerings to the heavy duty, automotive, indus-trial and agricultural sectors, said President and CEO Irvin Warren.

As the economy suffered in the past decade, so did the demand for grease, Hank Bird, Warrens vice president of business development, told Lube Report. While in decline, manufacturers of grease declined and there have been very few, if any, new plant startups. He said the company believes that grease demand will improve as the econo-my recovers.

Warren Oil also has manufacturing plants in Marion, Ill., Johnstown, Pa., Dunn, N.C., San Antonio, Texas, and Benton, Ala.

Heritage Expands Footprint

Heritage-Crystal Clean is buying four branches of RS Used Oil Services from fellow rerefiner Universal Lubricants, in a deal that could increase the formers used oil collection volume by 8 million gallons a year. The transaction price was not disclosed, but Heritage-Crystal Clean CFO Mark DeVita said the acquisition was the largest in his companys history, and paid for in cash.

The service routes in the deal span Indiana, Ohio and northern Illinois, and will move Heritage closer to its goal of collecting enough used oil to supply 100 percent of the feed-stock required by our rere-finery, said President and CEO Joseph Chalhoub, noting that the deal should bring the company approxi-mately 3,800 new cus-tomers.

Heritage is also planning an expansion of its Indianapolis rerefinery, with completion targeted for mid-2014. H-CC expects the plant then will be able to process 75 million gallons of used oil annually, about 50 percent above current levels.

The decision to sell the RS branches, Universals CEO Jan Horsfall said, will allow us to focus on our primary geographic mar-kets, which are closer in proximity to our [rerefinery] in Wichita, Kansas.

Oronite Invests in France

Chevron Oronite will soon be making more dispersants and detergents at its manufacturing plant in Gonfreville, France. A project to increase disper-sant production capacity there by more than 25 per-cent recently reached full startup, and the company has broken ground on a project that will effectively double carboxylate and sul-fonate detergent produc-tion capacity as well.

Actual capacities were not disclosed, but these projects, as well as others in our supply chain, will help better position us to serve growing markets around the world and to continue providing differentiated engine oil additives for the foreseeable future, said Jirong Xiao, Chevron Oronites vice president of sales and marketing. The projects, he added, also help strengthen the com-panys global supply chain reliability and flexibility.

Meanwhile, Oronites pro-ject to expand and upgrade its Singapore plant is expected to be mechanical-ly complete in early 2014, in effect doubling that sites capacity since it was com-missioned in 1999.

Briefly Noted

Following an independent audit of its supply chain, American Refining Group has become the first oil refinery licensed to use the proprietary Made in USA Certified seal on its brands. The company processes 100 percent Pennsylvania Grade crude at its Bradford, Pa., refinery, and then blends them into finished lubricants. This certification, it says, can bring added customer appeal to products such as Brad Penn lubricants, Kensol naphthas and distillates, and Kendex base oils, custom blends, waxes and resins.

FCC Environmental said it is on track with engineering work and permitting steps that will allow it to break ground on its $50 million rerefinery in Baltimore in the second quarter of 2014, and to commence opera-tions the following spring. Vincent Glorioso, vice presi-dent, said the rerefinery will have capacity to process about 40 million gallons of used motor oil a year, mak-ing about 27 million to 28 million gallons of rerefined base oil. The Houston-based company is a sub-sidiary of FCC, of Madrid, Spain.

Petronas Lubricants International will invest $50 million to build its first lubricants blending plant in India, with the first phase expected to be completed by the end of 2015. Located near Mumbai, the plant aims to have start-up capacity for 60,000 metric tons of finished lubes a year, with potential to even-tually double that output.

Champion Brands has named two master ware-house distributors for its lubricants, chemicals and additives. They include TVH, which services the materials handling and industrial equipment indus-try, and has locations in Kansas, Illinois, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, California, Canada, and Mexico; and Day Motor Sports, which serves the retail and wholesale trade and specializes in reaching and supplying circle-track racing.

Archway Sales has opened two more ware-houses, in St. Paul, Minn., and Los Angeles. It says the new sites allow it to meet the needs of its lubri-cants industry customers for molybdenum disulfide and other components, next-day delivery, storage and transportation services.

Spectro Buys Wilks

Spectro Inc., the Chelmsford, Mass., supplier of analytical tools and software for industrial fluids, has purchased Wilks Enterprise Inc. for an undisclosed sum. Wilks, based in Norwalk, Conn., and established in 1995, specializes in application-specific analyzers used for lubricant, biofuel, petrochemical, environmental, quality control and other measurements. Brian Mitchell, CEO of Spectro, said Wilks reaches its core markets with portable, rugged and easy-to-operate instruments, and combining this with Spectros extended resources and channel reach gives us opti-mism in projecting significant future growth. Both companies have synergies in their product lines and industries served, added Sandra Wilks Rintoul, presi-dent of Wilks.

Faces in the News

ExxonMobil Chemical named Russ Green as vice president of its global synthetic fluids business, replacing Chris Birdsall, who now manages planning and business development for ExxonMobil Chemical. Green joined ExxonMobil in 1991 and has served the company in its fuels and lubricants, refining and supply, investor relations and cor-porate planning organizations, in locations including Brussels and Shanghai. Most recently, he was general manager for an ExxonMobil China affiliate.

Paul DeVivo has been tapped as CEO of Gulf Oil International Ltd., where hell serve on the board and also continue as CEO of Houghton International, a role he has held since February 2008. Gulf Oil Corp. acquired Houghton in late 2012, and DeVivos focus now will be global acquisition integration, strategic business modeling, and performance improvement for both companies. Prior to joining Houghton, DeVivo held senior management posi-tions at Ashland, Valspar, Unitor and Drew Chemical. He holds a bachelors in marine engineering from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and an M.B.A. from the University of Miami.

Houghton also welcomed Dianne Carmody to its Valley Forge, Pa., headquarters as direc-tor of marketing for the Americas, tasking her with functional over-sight, product management, pric-ing and margin management, and marketing communications. Carmody was formerly with Rohm and Haas (acquired by Dow Chemical in 2009), where she held key com-mercial roles over a 30-year career. She holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from Lehigh University.

As well, Guy West has joined Houghton, as director of sales, North America, with responsibility for sales, marketing, strategic account management, Fluidcare, Research & Technology, and customer service. West joins Houghton after 30 years with Ashland and Hercules, and holds a chemical engineering degree from the University of Dayton.

Ben Ambler has been promoted to manager, cus-tomer sales and service, bulk, at Heritage-Crystal Clean, the Indianapolis rerefiner he joined in April 2012. A decorated U.S. Navy veteran of the first Gulf War, Ambler is a graduate of Purdue University School of Engineering and Technology. His professional career has included sales management and customer service roles in the auto industry, with Indiana Gas and Cintas, and with a safety supply company.

Ned Murray was promoted to vice president of environmental services at Universal Lubricants in Wichita, Kan., leading its used oil and filter collection, vacuum services, industrial cleaning, environmental project management, waste disposal and transporta-tion, and other services. Murray joined Universal from Shamrock Environmental in 2012, bringing 30 years of experience with Safety-Kleen, Clean Harbors, Perma-Fix Environmental Services and MHF Logistical Solutions.

Samantha Brooks has been named marketing manager by Acme-Hardesty Co. and its parent company Jacob Stern and Sons. She will work from Acme-Hardestys Blue Bell, PA, offices and will serve both of the specialty oleochemical companies.

Matt Spurlock is joining Advanced Machine Reliability Resources Inc., as its new vice president of business and technology development. He comes to the consulting company with 20 years of oil analysis and lubrication engineering experience, including a Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his work while serving with the Marines overseas keeping a fleet of amphibious assault vehicles combat ready.

KH Neochem Americas appointed Takeshi Matsui executive vice president for North and South American sales and marketing. He replaces Toshi Fujima, who moves to an international marketing position at the companys headquarters in Japan. Before the appoint-ment, Matsui was a sales and marketing manager for the company.

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