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Sasol to Make GTL in U.S.

With its eye on abundant U.S. natural gas supplies, South Africas Sasol is moving forward with engineering and design work for a 96,000 barrel per day gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant in Lake Charles, La. It will make diesel and other refined products, including lubricant base oils.

The $14 billion project will arrive as two 48,000 b/d trains, the first to begin operation in 2018 and the second a year later. Sasol spokesman Alex Anderson said it is too soon to project how much of the output would be dedicated to base oil, but some portion of it would be. As with mega projects of this nature, a final investment decision will follow the front-end engineering and design (FEED) process. That decision isnt expected until 2014. Sasol also plans to construct a $7 billion ethane cracker in Louisiana, due to stream in 2017.

Sasol converts gas to liquids using a variation of the Fischer-Tropsch technology developed by German scientists in the 1920s, Anderson told Lube Report in December. We have a specially designed reactor that uses a low-temperature process. Its quite a new technology that is not very well known around the world. Once fully operational, the Louisiana GTL plant will be similar in scale to Sasols Secunda complex in South Africa, and second in size only to Shell and Qatar Petroleums $19 billion Pearl project in Qatar.

Equity Firm Picks Up J.A.M.

Ridgemont Equity Partners bought J.A.M. Distributing Co., which supplies ExxonMobil, Phillips 66 and other base stocks and lubricants. Financial terms of the late-December deal were not disclosed.

The lube oil space in particular is an area weve been focused on, said Jack Purcell, a principal with Charlotte, N.C.-based Ridgemont. Weve actually looked at a number of lube oil distributors over a five- or six-year period. So when we came across this J.A.M. investment opportunity, it was an area we had a good perspective on, and it was a company we really liked.

J.A.M. is headquartered at its main terminal in Houston, and has terminals in the Texas cities of Dallas, Beaumont, Lufkin, Clute and Galveston. It services the industrial, commercial vehicle, passenger vehicle and marine markets, distributing lubes and base stocks, plus fuel and ancillary products.

Purcell said J.A.M. has a strong and dedicated senior leadership team, who will remain in their current roles except for CEO Johnny Maniscalco, who is retiring. The customer relationships J.A.M. has built over time are really strong, and theyve got a good position in their market. They have a fantastic reputation for high quality in safety and service.

Vanderbilt Set to Grow

Additive maker Vanderbilt Chemicals last month said its moving ahead to complete a $30 million expansion of its Murray, Ky., chemical manufacturing operation by this summer. The 21,600-sq.ft. addition, originally announced in June 2010, will significantly increase Murrays capacity, the company said. It will help meet growing demand for current products and also be flexible enough to handle new ones being tested by customers, ranging from antiwear agents containing boron and tungsten, to new molybdenum friction reducers and antiwear additives.

The expansion project involves both the chemical and mineral divisions. Vanderbilts chemical division manufactures lubricant additives, while the mineral division serves the pharmaceutical and personal care markets.

Also, on Jan. 1 Vanderbilt grouped its North American operations into three vertically integrated subsidiaries. This structure will position the company for growth, both organically and through mergers and acquisitions, it said.

Established in 1916, privately-held, Norwalk, Conn.-based Vanderbilt supplies antioxidants, antiwear and extreme-pressure additives, industrial preservatives, metal deactivators, friction reducers, chemical intermediates and rust inhibitors. It also has wholly owned subsidiaries in China and Switzerland.

Faces in the News

Sonneborn LLC has tapped Paul C. Raymond III to be its new president and CEO. A Texas native with both an undergraduate degree and doctorate in chemical engineering, Raymond brings more than 20 years of experience to the white oil and specialty hydrocarbons supplier. Previously head of Ashland Water Technologies, he also has held management positions with GE, Honeywell and Hercules.

Mark Matson has joined the Lube Group at Calumet Specialty Products as Midwest technical sales representative. Matson, who was product manager for Marathons base stocks, holds a chemistry degree from Wichita State Univ. and has over 25 years of experience in oil refining and compounding/blending. Calumets Lube Group also added Adam Pilli as a sales trainee in Burnham, Ill., with an outside sales position on tap in the near future. He graduated from Wabash College with a bachelors in economics.

Kline Group promoted Geeta Agashe, a noted authority on lubricants, base oils and petroleum specialties, to senior vice president, Petroleum & Energy, at Kline Management Consulting. Agashe joined Kline in 1996, after positions with KPMG and Bharat Petroleum, and recently led the firms petroleum market research practice. She holds one MBA from Indias Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, and another from Loyola College in Maryland.

CHS Inc. tapped Rick Cummings as vice president of its Lubricants division, in charge of manufacturing, distribution and marketing of lubricant brands including Cenex and Farm-Oyl, as well as packaging private-label lubricants for others. Formerly v.p. Of refined fuel sales, Cummings succeeds Anwer Hussain, who retired in November. Hussain joined CHS as a chemist in 1974, and rose to become senior vice president; he also was president of the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association in 2007-2008.

Jan Robert Horsfall is now chief marketing officer at Universal Lubricants, responsible for branding, consumer and partnership initiatives, and market expansion. Horsfall began his career at Valvoline (where he worked alongside Universal CEO John Wesley) and rose to v.p. of consumer brand strategy there. He also held executive posts with Internet firm Lycos, a VoIP business, and a popular online games developer.

Ergons Petroleum Specialties Marketing Division says Tim Langlais of Katy, Texas, has come aboard as sales manager. With more than seven years of experience in the lubricants industry, plus three in the tire industry, he holds a chemical engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is working now towards an MBA at Rice Univ.

Roy Fewkes, driveline fluids group leader for General Motors Powertrain, has joined the Technical Subcommittee of the Petroleum Quality Institute of Americas Advisory Board, where he will lend his expertise in fluid quality and performance. A Fellow of the Institute of the Motor Industry, Fewkes chairs GMs ATF and Gear Oil Approvals Committee, and is active in STLE, SAE and other industry groups.

With an eye to growing its exports, Ironsides Lubricants recruited Andrew Jones as international business development manager. He brings experience in export sales and a strong technical background in the power transmission and engineering industries to the U.K. blender and grease manufacturer.

Aurora Bags DuBois

DuBois Chemicals has traded hands, and the specialty chemical, industrial lubricants and metalworking fluid company is now owned by Aurora Capital Group of Los Angeles.

The seller was private equity firm Riverside, which owned DuBois since 2008 and regularly added to its portfolio. Its holdings now include chemical manufacturer Galaxy Associates, transportation cleaning products supplier Blendco, metalworking and industrial fluids maker Perkins Products, and Mitco, which makes water and wastewater management products.

Aurora is the right partner for DuBois as we enter the next phase of our companys growth, and we look forward to working with them to achieve our future goals, said Jeff Welsh, CEO and president of DuBois, based in Sharonville, Ohio.

DuBois metalworking products include stamping, cutting and grinding fluids. It also makes both petroleum and synthetic greases and oils, and other industrial products.

Mystified by Maintenance?

STLEs Chicago Section offers Industrial Lubrication and Maintenance, a two-day course designed for lubricant end-users and others who apply, specify, maintain, formulate or sell industrial lubricants. Held March 20 and 21, its taught by experts drawn from manufacturing companies, such as Rolls Royce, Rexnord Falk and Dreisilker Electric Motors, and specialists from the lubricants industry. Participants will learn about the needs of gears, bearings, hydraulics and turbines, plus the fluids and greases that sustain them. Troubleshooting, predictive maintenance, filtration and vibration analysis are also on the agenda.

The course will be at Ashton Place in Willowbrook, Ill., convenient to OHare and Midway airports, and the registration fee ($295 for STLE members; $345 for others) includes breakfast, lunch, breaks and materials. Chicago Section STLE awards 12 Professional Development Hours for completion of the course, too. For details about lodging, registration and more, visit www., or e-mail Ted McClure,

Herguth Labs Sold

Switzerlands SGS on Dec. 31 acquired Vallejo, Calif.-based Herguth Laboratories, which con-ducts lubricant analysis, tribological research, and equipment and oil condition monitoring. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bill Herguth, who founded his company 28 years ago, said he will remain involved in its daily operation. Herguth operates two 10,000-sq.ft. laboratories in San Francisco and Chicago, while SGS has a global network of 25 condition monitoring labs.

Vertullus Picks Castor Oil Partner

Vertellus Specialties, a global manufacturer of castor oil, castor oil polyols and derivatives, has named Archway Sales Inc. to be its exclusive distributor for these products in the U.S. Northeast, effective Nov. 1. Based in St. Louis, Mo., and with seven regional offices, Archway is a specialty chemical distributor serving the industrial, plastic and other specialty markets in the United States. Vertellus is headquartered in Indianapolis.

Martin Snaps Up Talens

Martin Midstream Partners L.P. last month bought lubricants distributor Talens Marine and Fuel from various subsidiaries of Quintana Energy Partners. The $47.4 million acquisition adds 10 marine terminal locations between Houston and Galveston in Texas, and Port Fourchon, La., with total tankage of 300,000 barrels.

The acquisition gives Martin Midstream Partners a leading market position of fueling and lubricant terminals along the Gulf Coast, noted Ruben Martin, president and CEO of Martin Midstream. Martins subsidiary, Martin Energy, distributes major brands of lubricants for industrial, commercial, marine and consumer applications. Talens Marine and Fuel distributes several lubricants brands, including Valvoline, Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Sealub Alliance.

Briefly Noted

Environmental Lubricants Manufacturing recently completed the installation of three 40,000-pound vessels for making biobased greases and lubricants at its plant in Grundy Center, Iowa, using microwave energy for the reaction and mixing processes. The equipment increased the companys grease production capacity 10 fold, while reducing manufacturing costs significantly, company officials said.

Amyris is now producing Biofene, a renewable farnesene hydrocarbon that can be finished to create base oils and lubricants as well as fuels, at its industrial fermentation facility in Brazil. The product, which is created by bacteria from plant based material, is slated to be commercially available in the years first quarter.

Russian lubricants marketer Gazprom Neft-SM has widened its sales network, working with distributors to supply its engine oils and industrial lubricants to customers in Germany, Ukraine, Turkey and Iraq.

In the years closing days, PetroChoice bought the New Jersey operations of distributor U.S. Lubes. It was the companys fifth acquisition in 2012.

Metrolube Enterprises, a leading Valvoline Instant Oil Change franchisee, has purchased 39 quick lubes stores in central and southern Florida from Southern Express Lubes.


Due to an editing error, Decembers Product News gave the wrong name for Universal Lubricants synthetic-blend motor oil. Universals brand is Eco Ultra (not Eco Power, which belongs to a different company). The photo and caption were correct.

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