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ExMo: More Base Oil, More Asia

ExxonMobil is pushing forward on several fronts in Asia. Last month the oil giant said it will expand API Group II base oil capacity at its Singapore refinery by early 2015. The massive Singapore complex has 25,000 b/d of API Group II capacity now, plus another 13,000 b/d of Group I capacity at Pulau Ayer Chawan on Singapores Jurong Island. The company did not disclose the size of the expansion, but confirmed it will use proprietary ExxonMobil technologies, including MSDW dewaxing catalyst. The project will boost ExxonMobils substantial footprint in base oils, which now is 13 percent of global capacity.

As well, the company opened a new Signum oil analysis laboratory (its first in the Asia-Pacific region) at its Shanghai Technology Center in Shanghai. The Signum program is designed to improve equipment maintenance by evaluating the condition of in-service lubricants. With the Mobil branded lubricant business growing steadily in China and the Asia Pacific region, more and more customers are requesting superior oil analysis to improve productivity and reduce downtime, said Darrin Talley, vice president of marketing for ExxonMobil Fuels, Lubricants and Specialties Marketing Co.

ExxonMobil is also expanding its Tianjin lubricant and grease blending plants capacity by nearly 80 percent to meet Chinas growing demand for Mobil brand lubricants. The Tianjin expansion involves building additional facilities for base oil, additives and finished products, and is working towards completion late this year.

Looks Like A Million Bucks

Rhein Chemies lubricants division recently invested $978,000 in new equipment for testing hydraulic fluids at its technology center in Mannheim, Germany. The testing installation from Parker Denison – one of only 12 worldwide – was inaugurated it in late May. The German additive company will use it to develop hydraulic additive packages and to conduct tests on behalf of its customers.

While the equipment is in Europe, the technology can extend to the companys global network, said Michael Assaf, director of lubricant additives for the NAFTA region at Rhein Chemie Corp. in Pittsburgh, Pa. We can certainly work with a customer based in the U.S. or China, or any region of the world that has the right type of project.

The testing system uses a T6H hybrid pump from Parker Denison to measure the performance of an additive package in combination with a base oil, in a procedure that takes four to five weeks. The Denison spec is one of the toughest specifications in the hydraulic sector, Vice President of Corporate Communications Martina Bitterlich noted.

Puralube Adding 3rd Rerefinery

Puralube is investing 40 million to build a third rerefinery at the Zeitz Chemical and Industrial Park in Troeglitz, Germany, bringing its API Group II+ base oil capacity at the site up to about 150,000 metric tons a year. Puralube managing director Christian Hartmann confirmed the investment and said production is slated to stream in fall 2014. This third unit, like the two it joins, will be able to process 80,000 tons per year of used oil and produce 50,000 t/y of base oil.

Puralube started its first rerefinery unit in Zeitz in 2004. It was the worlds first rerefinery to operate on the HyLube catalytic processing technology patented by UOP, which is part of Honeywell. Puralube acquired exclusive rights to the technology in 1995. The second Zeitz plant opened in 2008.

Martin Snags NL Grease

Martin Midstream Partners is set to acquire NL Grease, in a transaction due to close by the end this month. The Kilgore, Texas-based petroleum company will take over all assets of NL Grease LLC, a private-label grease manufacturer based in Kansas City, Mo. In its announcement, Martin Midstream noted that it expects a cash flow increase of approximately $2.5 million a year from the acquisition.

Martin President and CEO Ruben Martin added that the NL Grease deal may be the first of many. These assets are also a natural vertical integration of our naphthenic refinerys base oil business, he noted, in reference to the companys 5,000 b/d Cross Oil refinery in Smackover, Ark. Martin acquired the refinery in November 2009 when it bought the lube assets of Cross Oil Refining & Marketing for $45 million. Price of this new purchase was not disclosed.

NL Greases president, Jim Taglia, is active in the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association, serving on its board of directors and as a past president. He also chairs the groups Industry Task Force, which coordinates testing initiatives as part of ILMAs ethics program.

Feds Champion Biobased Engine Oils

The U.S. Department of Agricultures Bio -Preferred programs latest procurement regulations now specify that engine crankcase oil with at least 25 percent biobased content will receive federal procurement preference. The move follows a review of newer formulations and technologies. By June 11, 2014, federal agencies and government contractors must ensure their relevant procurement specifications require the use of such engine oils.

Biosynthetic Technologies CEO Allen Barbieri noted that products with even higher bio-content are available now, such as those formulated with his companys Estolide biosynthetic base oils, which are synthesized from fatty acids found in vegetable oils. The Estolide molecule structure, which performs similar to polyalphaolefins, was invented by the Agriculture Departments researchers, and enables bio-content of up to 80 to 95 percent, he said.

Also under the new procurement rules, water turbine bearing oils will need a minimum of 46 percent biobased content to be eligible. Information about the USDA BioPreferred Program and qualified products can be found at

Drum Institute Rebrands

The former Steel Shipping Container Institute, a trade group based in Arlington, Va., has adopted a new name: the Industrial Steel Drum Institute. It also has a new logo and website. The website,, provides industrial packagers, warehouse managers, risk and fire protection professionals and others with information about the benefits of steel drums, how steel drums are made, and resources available to the industry.

Industrial packaging has evolved a lot since SSCI was founded in 1944, noted Kyle R. Stavig, chairman of ISDI and CEO of Myers Container LLC. More than 110 years after its creation, the steel drum remains an industrial packaging mainstay, even in the face of evolving technologies that have created alternative options. The change in identity emphasizes exactly what ISDI members produce, and aims to promote steel drums as the best option for transporting a wide range of products, from food additives and concentrates to petroleum products and, especially, high-hazard chemicals, he said.

Qualice Tackles CP Market

Seeing an opening for a second U.S.-based supplier of chlorinated paraffins, Qualice LLC has launched operations in North Carolina. Chuck Davis, president, said the new facility fired up its chlorinating unit on April 1, and within a couple weeks had its initial batches of waxy, very long-chain chlorinated alpha olefin out the door to lubricant industry customers.

Chlorinated paraffins are used in lubricants as extreme-pressure additives and to reduce friction in metal removal, drawing and stamping operations. About half of CPs go into making lubricants and additives, and the rest go into other applications. Qualices focus will be on very long chain CPs, C21 and up, noted Jim MacNeil, product manager.

North Americas list of CP manufacturers once included Dover Chemical, Keil Chemical, Occidental Chemical, Pioneer Cos. and others, but only Dover remained after a period of intense consolidation about 10 years ago. Ineos Chlor is the leading importer of CP into the United States.

That leaves a market void that Qualice can fill, as an alternative source of domestic supply, Davis said. While declining to disclose its capacity, he told LubesnGreases the company has room to grow and to add chlorinating units; it hopes someday to capture 30 percent of the domestic market. Qualice is an affiliate of Trinity Manufacturing, a privately held chemical firm in Hamlet, N.C., that makes chlorine and derivatives.

Prison Term for Lube Exec

The U.S. federal court of Charleston, S.C., on June 12 sentenced former Delfin Group USA president Markos Baghdasarian to three years in prison plus three years of supervision, for exporting lubricants to Iran and lying to authorities. Baghdasarian, 49, had pleaded guilty in December to exporting more than $2 million worth of aviation oils, lubricants and polymers to customers in Iran (including the Iranian governments Pars Oil) in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The violations occurred from June 2010 until October 2011, court evidence showed. At that time, the Iranian native was president of Delfin Group USA, a Russian-owned blender of synthetic motor oils located in North Charleston, S.C. He shipped goods from his company to the U.A.E., where they were repackaged and imported into Iran. A whistleblowers alert led to federal investigations, and Baghdasarian was arrested in May 2012.

By then, Delfin had placed Baghdasarian on administrative leave and named John Gordon to lead Delfin Group USA. Recently, the companys Russian owners reasserted control and fired Gordon in April 2013. Gordon said Delfin terminated him with no advance notice or reason provided.

Hydrodec Works on Growth

Transformer oil rerefiner Hydrodec has reached agreement with its U.S. partner, transformer recovery firm G&S Technologies Group, to expand capacity at its rerefinery in Canton, Ohio, from four trains to six next year, company officials said at its annual general meeting. Work on engineering design, permitting and a contracting strategy has already begun, Hydrodec Chairman Lord Moynihan reported. We would expect this expanded capacity to be commissioned in the summer of next year.

CEO Ian Smale stated the company also plans to commission a second U.S. plant in early 2015. Its first transformer oil rerefinery opened in 2008 in Canton. The 22,000 sq.ft. plant can recycle up to 8 million gallons per year.

Ergon Europe Bulks Up

Naphthenics supplier Ergon Europe says it has leased six more tanks at the Sea Tank Terminal in Antwerp, Belgium, boosting its overall storage capacity in the region by more than 30 percent. It now has 16 tanks holding 151,000 barrels. The additional storage will be used exclusively for Ergons base, process and insulating oils, noted Per Klintstam, president of Ergon Europe, and enables the company to fulfill growing demand in the region.

Oelcheck Opens China Lab

Independent oil analysis lab Oelcheck GmbH in March celebrated the opening of its site in Guangzhou, southern China. Featuring sophisticated test equipment that was pretested and then flown in from Germany, the facility is almost identical to Oelchecks lab in Brannenburg, Germany. Customers now can buy prepared analysis kits, courier their lube samples to the Guangzhou lab, and receive a detailed laboratory report in Chinese within two working days. The report includes the analysis values, a quick diagnosis and advice from Oelcheck engineers. In this way the customers learn what measures must be taken in order to ensure the reliability of the equipment – e.g. better filtering, oil changes, change the type of oil or even repairs, noted Steffen Bots of Oelcheck.

Rerefinery Deal for Vietnam

Irvine, Calif.-based process technology company Chemical Engineering Partners announced the signing of a contract with VN Oil of Vietnam to build a used oil rerefinery, the first of its kind in Vietnam. VNs facility will treat used oil and produce API Group II base oil, and will be located in Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park, approximately 14 kilometers from downtown Ho Chi Minh City.

CEPs contract calls for the plant to have a feed capacity of 69,000 metric tons a year and produce approximately 50,000 t/y of base oil. Its due to stream in March 2015.

Van Huu Nguyen, chairman of VN Oil, expressed excitement about the project, which he said will help protect Vietnams environment while contributing to the countrys industrialization and modernization with production of API Group II base oil. Today, 100 percent of Vietnams base oil is imported.

Briefly Noted

RelaDyne acquired the lubricants business of Maxum Petroleums Great Lakes division, comprised of Harney Fuel Oil and Paulson Oil. Oxea launched its new carboxylic acids plant in Oberhausen, Germany, boosting its global production capacity 40 percent. Ashland Inc. named Perkins Oil and Badger Lubrication Technologies as official distributors for its Valvoline lubricants. BASF and Sinopec are considering an extension of their Nanjing joint venture, BASF-YPC Co. Ltd., to include a new neopentyl glycol unit. Mag Lubricants new 60,000 t/y blending plant in Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, is fully operational following a $50 million investment from Abu Dhabi-based parent company Mag Group. The expansion targets both local demand and that of other countries across Middle East and Africa.

Faces in the News

Valentina Serra-Holm, marketing director at Nynas Naphthenics, in late April was elected to the board of directors of the European Lubricating Grease Institute, the first woman to serve in that role.

Clean Harbors has promoted Jerry Correll, its executive vice president of environmental sales, to president of Safety-Kleen Environmental Services, replacing Robert Craycraft, who resigned. Correll had worked earlier at Safety-Kleen, and joined Clean Harbors in 2002 when it bought Safety-Kleens chemical services business; it acquired the rest of Safety-Kleen in 2012. Correll has bachelors in business administration from the University of Tennessee and a J.D. from the Nashville School of Law.

Lance Puckett is the new vice president of petroleum specialties marketing, North and South America, at Ergon Inc., taking over from Craig Busbea, who was promoted to vice president of business development for the companys refining and marketing segment. Puckett, previously the refiners rubber and CPI sales manager, began his career at Ergon in 1996 after graduating from Mississippi State Univ.

Milacron LLC, parent company of Cimcool Fluid Technology, has tapped Ron Krisanda for the newly created position of chief operating officer. Prior to joining the company, Krisanda was COO of Edwards Group Ltd., a U.K. manufacturer. He holds a bachelors in mechanical engineering from Clarkson Univ. and a masters in manufacturing systems from Lehigh Univ.

Infineum tapped Joan Evans to be global industry liaison manager, following the retirement of Brian Crichton. Based in Linden, N.J., Evans will help guide the additive companys global business strategy and support the development and release of new technologies and products. She has worked for Infineum and ExxonMobil since 1984, and previously was industry liaison senior advisor and Lindens site services manager.

Polaris Laboratories announced Paul Sewald as sales manager for the Southeastern United States, a territory including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. He brings more than 25 years of industry experience to Polaris, including with Nelson Oil and NOCO Energy. The fluid analysis company also named Dan Frankovitch its sales manager for the U.S. Northeast from Maine to Virginia. Frankovitch has 12 years of sales, fluid analysis and lubricants experience, including with Fleetguard, Lubricon, Quaker State and Kendall.

Houston, Texas-based ORourke Petroleum, distributor of lubes and fuels, promoted Lubricants Operations Manager Johnny Hymes to the position of regional lubricants operational manager, from which he will oversee additional distribution facilities throughout Texas.

Jan F. Nieman steps up the role of vice president and global leader for grease, fluid power and mining at Quaker Chemical, starting Aug. 1. He joined Quaker in 1992 and since early 2005 was vice president and managing director for Asia-Pacific. Nieman remains a member of Quakers management executive committee and will be based at its Conshohocken, Pa., headquarters.

Bernd Merle, CEO of Avista Oil AG and managing director of Mineralol-Raffinerie Dollbergen GmbH, resigned last month after three years with the German rerefiner. Hell continue in an advisory capacity through October.

Ray Haskell has been hired as director of engineering at Spectro Inc., the Massachusetts-based firm specializing in analytical instrumentation and software for machine condition monitoring. Haskell has a MSEE degree from the Univ. of Maine and has been developing fluid, physical and gas measurement instruments and sensors for over 17 years.

Universal Lubricants named Sonny Mays its director of technical support and sales for the heavy-duty market. Hell provide technical support, customer training, performance analysis and sales planning for heavy-duty lubricants in the U.S. and Canada. Mays logged time in the trucking and heavy-equipment spheres, and joined Universal in 2006 from Castrol HDL.

California-based Biosynthetic Technologies, which is commercializing a fully synthetic base oil developed by the USDA from renewable sources, named Bruce Marley senior vice president of sales and marketing. Marley comes from Chemtura, where he was commercial director for its Petroleum Additives North America business. He also spent many years in management and leadership positions at BP Castrol.

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