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FTC Ends LZ-Chemtool Review

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has closed its investigation into Lubrizols acquisition of Rockton, Ill.-based grease manufacturer Chemtool, clearing the way for completion of the deal. The acquisition was originally announced in November 2011, two months after Lubrizol itself was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway for $9.7 billion. The Wickliffe, Ohio-based Lubrizol had said Chemtools private-label grease manufacturing would be a good fit with Lubrizols additives business.

The commission was investigating whether the proposed deal would violate antitrust laws. Upon further review of this matter, it now appears that no further action is warranted by the commission at this time, the FTC stated in Feb. 28 letters to Berkshire Hathaway, Lubrizol and Chemtool. Accordingly, the investigation has been closed.

As this issue goes to press, Lubrizol said it was unable to comment yet on its next steps toward closing the acquisition.

Bye-bye, Stanlow Group I

Essar Energy reached an agreement with its base oil customers that will allow it to shut down the base oil plant at its Stanlow, U.K., refinery within the next couple of months, a company spokesman confirmed last month. The 5,060 barrels per day API Group I base oil plant is part of a fuels refinery that Essar bought from Shell in August 2011.

The European/U.K. market is oversupplied, and margins are very low, the company official noted. To produce base oil requires very specific, higher cost crudes, the spokesman said, explaining that currently base oil represents only 2 percent of the refinerys output but dictates the choice of crudes for around a quarter of Stanlows total needs. So closing the base oil plant allows Essar to boost the refinerys margins by as much as $3 per barrel of crude, it said.

Distributors Join Forces

Brown Evans Distributing and Union Distributing have merged to form Senergy Petroleum, which will distribute lubricants in Arizona and the U.S. Southwest. Terms were not disclosed.

According to their web sites, Brown Evans distributes Chevron, Texaco and MaxPro lubricants, and Union distributes 76, Conoco, Phillips 66, Kendall and Mystik lubricants.

Unions David Lueth and Warren Lueth and Brown Evans Kathye Brown will retain joint principal ownership, and Chris Lindblom, ex-chief of Canyon State Oil, will be president and CEO.

Grease Firm Plots Growth

Engineered Custom Lubricants, which makes specialty lubricating greases for OEM applications, has moved into two buildings in Illinois and plans to expand further through acquisitions. Formerly based in Detroit, ECL relocated to Aurora, Ill., in 2011. With 24 employees and about 49,000 square feet for manufacturing, the company is still expanding. We have a mergers and acquisition company in place, and theyre helping us to try to acquire companies, co-owner and vice president of sales and marketing Paul Bedford said. We expect to close on a couple companies in the next 12 months.

Bedford said ECL had about $5 million in sales in 2009 and expects to do about $18 million in busi-ness this year. With acquisitions, our goal is to get to $100 million in revenue by 2021 and to stay focused exclusively on OEM grease applications, he said.

Pascagoula Steaming to 4Q Launch

Chevrons $1.4 billion, 25,000 barrels per day API Group II base oil project in Pascagoula, Miss., is on budget and on track for startup in the fourth quarter of 2013.

We will be mechanically complete, and go through our commissioning and startup in the fourth quarter, Patti Leigh, general manager for Chevron Lubricants base oil group, told Lube Report last month. She added, As we line out the exact details of what that means – you have to build the waxy intermediate stocks, and then start up the finishers – it looks more like the first quarter [of 2014] before we have commercial quantities of oil for sale. Were hoping very early in the first quarter.

U.K. Firm Upgrades Site

Exol Lubricants is investing more than 2 million (U.S. $2.6 million) to redevelop its head office and manufacturing site in the United Kingdom. Work at the 120,000 sq.ft. site in Wednesbury, West Midlands, will start in July 2013, and is expected to take six months. The independent lubricant blender said it is completely overhauling the site to create a more efficient, economical and environmentally friendly manufacturing facility. It will demolish the current Victorian-era building and create a modern, steel-framed facility to house a new research laboratory and production line.

Exol Lubricants supplies lubricants and associated products for passenger car, commercial vehicle, agricultural, rail and industrial applications. Improvements also are coming at its bulk blending site in Rotterdam, the company added.

NLGI to Hear Argo Author

Tony Mendez, author of Argo, the best-selling memoir that inspired the film of the same name (winner of the 2013 Academy Award for Best Picture), will deliver the keynote address to the upcoming NLGI Annual Meeting. The technical trade association for the global lubricating grease and gear lubrication industry, NLGI holds its 2013 annual meeting June 15-18 in Tucson, Ariz. The meeting marks the groups 80th anniversary, and is expected to draw hundreds of participants from around the world.

In addition to Mendezs keynote, attendees will hear presentations focusing on lubricating grease performance, testing, applications and advances, including energy-saving and biobased greases. Grease education courses (both basic and advanced) are offered concurrent with the event, and technical working groups also meet. The event presents numerous social and networking opportunities as well.

For more details, including registration and hotel information, visit www.nlgi.org

Pettit Oil Expands in Washington

Pettit Oil Co. acquired the lubricant distribution and other assets of PNEC Corp., which does business as SC Fuels, for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition includes Tacoma, Wash-based PNECs distribution facilities in Bremerton and Everett, Wash., as well as the companys heating oil and commercial fuel distribution assets. This move significantly expands our companys footprint within western Washington, especially in the Puget Sound, and Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas, said Pettit Oil President Jim Tener.

Privately held Pettit Oil, headquartered in Lakewood, Wash., distributes lubricants for Chevron, Texaco and 76 Lubricants. It supplies the marine, commercial, industrial, automotive and other markets from seven locations. SC Fuels supplies bulk and packaged lubricants, including Chevron, Shell, 76, Phillips 66, Kendall and Castrol brands, to commercial, industrial and automotive customers.

Oxea, CPI Ink China Deal

Lubrizols CPI Engineering Services is partnering with Oxea Chemicals to manufacture synthetic refrigeration lubricants in Nanjing, China. Oxea has also begun constructing a specialty derivatives plant in Nanjing that will make esters used in compressor lubricants.

The plant will manufacture CPIs Emkarate brand synthetic refrigeration lubricants, with production anticipated in first-quarter 2014. CPI said the lubricants are suitable for use with ozone-friendly refrigerants in the Asian market-place, which is home to some of the worlds largest original equipment manufacturers of refrigeration equipment.

This additional manufacturing capability will help ensure we provide ample capacity for the evolving Asian market, said CPI President Tom Rajewski.

Briefly Noted

Shell Chemical said it may expand its Geismar, La., petrochemical facility by adding an additional linear alpha olefin unit to meet growing global demand for products such as synthetic lubricants and lubricant additives.

Arizona Chemical broke ground on a $10 million, 27,000-sq.ft. science and technology center in Georgia that will be the new home for its U.S. research and development activities when it opens in December 2013.

Availon Inc., an independent service provider to the wind industry, has signed a distributorship agreement with SKFs Lubrication Business. Availon will sell, install and support a wide range of SKF and Lincoln automatic lubrication system products. Its engineers and field technicians also will receive training by SKF specialists on lubrication systems for wind energy.

According to an official Kazakh government website, Lukoils president Vagit Alekperov said his company is actively developing projects there, including building a lubricants plant in Kazakhstans south with a capacity of 100,000 tons per year. The move is part of a push by the Russian oil major into the markets of Central Asia.

Tu Po Lubricants Co. Ltd. began distributing San Mateo, Calif.-based Top 1 Oil Products lubricants in China in February.

PetroChoice acquired lubricants distributor U.S. Lubes Southern Division, including a terminal facility in Wakefield, Va.

Intertek has opened an oil condition monitoring test laboratory in Chicago. The facility will provide expert lubricant analysis, used oil testing, and oil condition monitoring services, and can help customers identify the risk of damage to equipment from wear metals, contaminants and other lubricant-related issues.

Faces in the News

Ann Oglesby, a 25-year veteran of the oil and gas industry and recently Phillips 66s vice president of communications and public affairs, was tapped last month as the new general manager of Phillips 66 Lubricants. She takes over from Tom Liberti, who is moving to a different role within Phillips 66 after 11 years leading the division. Oglesby holds a bachelors degree in chemical engineering from Oklahoma State Univ., began her oil industry career in 1987 with Mobil, and has served in management roles at ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66 for the past 12 years.

Kluber Lubrication North America has picked Ralf Kraemer to be chief executive officer. He has more than 15 years of sales, marketing and management experience, including with a Swiss technology company in the Chicago area, a German machine tool accessories company near Raleigh, N.C., and, for the past nine years, a German machine tool company in Pittsburgh. Kraemer takes the reins from Dieter A. Becker, who returned to Klubers global headquarters in Munich, Germany, after leading the North American operations for nearly three years.

Mike Reddick joined Universal Environmental Services, part of Avista Oil AG, as vice president of sales and marketing for rerefined products. Reddick has more than 25 years of experience, and came to UES from Champion Brands. The companys new rerefinery in Peachtree City, Ga., is due to start up in May.

Lubricant and additives industry veterans Sally Pavlica and Mark Trotter have joined the board of directors at Petroleum Chemicals. Pavlica was promoted from manager to vice president of sales, and is responsible for managing all sales, marketing, distribution and customer service. Trotter was promoted from manager to vice president of operations, and now oversees manufacturing, purchasing and logistics.

Jim Herman has moved to a new position at Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., as strategic procurement manager within its Global Procurement organization, effective Jan. 1. Replacing him as global business manager for polyalphaolefins is James Jay Bickett II, who has been with the company for 10 years. Bickett joins the PAO team from CP Chems polyethylene business, where he served as western regional sales manager.

Trico Corp. has named Jim Jung – the fourth generation of his family to own and operate the lubricants company – as vice president, responsible for shaping its future direction. Jung holds a bachelors in production and operations management from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He previously served as director of operations at the Pewaukee, Wis., lubricants company, and recently headed its complete restructuring; he is now also a stockholder.

AOCA, the Automotive Oil Change Association, selected Meredith Young as its executive director. Young is employed by SmithBucklin, the association management firm retained by AOCA in October to manage its day-to-day operations. Shell have complete oversight of all programs including membership, finance, marketing and public relations, and also will provide strategic direction and governance training to the board of directors.

Dorf Ketal Chemicals named Ralph G. Beard its global technical and business development manager for lubricant additives. Formerly with Palmer Holland, he oversees product development for Dorf Ketals lubricant additive components, as well as sales and marketing strategy. Prior to Palmer-Holland, Beard was president and co-owner of Triad Lubrication Components, where his accomplishments included developing biotech-based formulations and aerosol penetrating compounds for specialty lubricant manufacturers.

Mike Cox joined Resolute Oil LLC as sales and business development manager, responsible for growing the sales of its MaxPar line of white oils and other base oil products. Cox has more than 25 years of experience, with Bigler Specialty Oil and other national chemical distributors, and most recently was a managing partner at Ponderra LLC.

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