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API Offers Online Licensing

Gone are the days when licensees had to complete long and complicated forms, the American Petroleum Institute pronounced in late December. Instead, the trade association has launched an online application system for its Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System. With more than 8,000 engine oils licensed to show the API donut and/or starburst symbols on their labels, the online procedure should ease the annual paperwork burden faced by hundreds of companies.

The new system is live, according to APIs manager of engine oil licensing and certification Kevin Ferrick. Current and prospective licensees can manage all aspects of APIs EOLCS online, from applying for a license to adding and managing products, renewing certification, and arranging payment of fees.

Previously, applicants needed to request and submit paper forms to manage their licensing. Existing license holders and applicants should have received an e-mail granting access to the new system. New users can register immediately. The new system can be accessed from the EOLCS portion of APIs website:

NextGen Found Lacking

The Petroleum Quality Institute of America last month issued a consumer advisory that Valvolines NextGen SAE 5W-20 motor oil failed certain industry specs. Purchased at retail in New Jersey, the sample of Valvoline NextGen 5W-20 that PQIA tested did not meet Noack volatility requirements set by the American Petroleum Institute and the Inter­national Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee, PQIA president Thomas Glenn said.

Products in Valvolines NextGen line are made with 50 percent recycled oil. The sample PQIA tested was within the ranges of viscosity and elemental requirements for the API SN and ILSAC GF-5 specs it claims to meet, but failed considerably on Noack volatility as tested by the ASTM D5800 standard method, Glenn said. PQIA had the sample tested twice and found evaporative losses of 18.4 percent and 18.3 percent – around 22 percent higher than the 15 percent limit for API SN and GF-5 oils.

Valvoline, a division of Ashland Inc., had tested the product when it was manufactured and found it met all requirements, said Thom Smith, the companys vice president of lubricant technology. The discrepancy between Valvolines results and PQIAs results were most likely due to the variability of the ASTM D5800 test, Smith told Lube Report. The varied testing results bring to light the industry concern with the ASTM test and its inherent variability, Smith wrote in an e-mail. However, Glenn responded that test variability aside, the key issue is that the Valvoline sample failed to meet standards when a slew of other products did not.

Berkshire Snaps Up Flow Improvers

Investment giant Berkshire Hathaway agreed to divest around $1.4 billion worth of Phillips 66 common stock in exchange for Phillips 66s flow improver segment. Berkshire Hathaway, the international conglomerate which also owns additives manufacturer Lubrizol Corp., announced in a Dec. 30 press release that it will buy Phillips Specialty Products Inc. (PSPI), for an estimated 19 million Philips 66 shares. After the deal closes, anticipated in the years first half, the investment firm will appoint Lubrizol CEO James Hambrick as the strategic director of the flow improver business.

Pipelines accounted for 70 percent of all U.S. petroleum transportation in 2009, according to the Association of Oil Pipe Lines, and demand for the once-through polymers is growing along with U.S. crude production. Injected into the fluid stream, PSPIs polymers increase flow in petroleum transport pipelines for both crude and refined oil products. The polymers reduce drag by decreasing turbulence caused by contact between the inside of the pipe wall and the moving oil. Thus, they allow more product to be pumped at lower pressures. Other companies, such as Infineum International, have developed similar flow improver product lines, but PSPI claims to have invented the first commercial drag reduction agent in the 1990s.

ExMo Picks Mexico Partner

ExxonMobil has inked a distributor agreement with Quimica Delta, one of Mexicos largest petrochemical suppliers. The new agreement will enhance the supply of the oil majors API Group I, Group II and Group II+ base stocks across Mexico, it said.

Demand for consistent quality and reliable supplies of base stocks continues to grow from finished lubricant blenders and manufacturers in Mexico, said Dan Holton, sales manager for ExxonMobil Americas Basestocks & Specialities in Fairfax, Va. The addition of Quimica Delta as an authorized branded distributor will enable ExxonMobil Basestocks to respond to an increasing market need and broaden the reach of our Group I, Group II and Group II+ base stocks in this important market.

As a licensed ExxonMobil distributor, Quimica Delta will supply the above base oils in adherence to ExxonMobil product integrity systems, ensuring product quality and consistency.

Azmol Goes Bust

Azmol, one of the former Soviet Unions largest lubricant makers, has gone bankrupt under a commercial court rule, according to Voice of Ukraine, the official newspaper of

the Ukrainian parliament. On Dec. 18 the commercial court of the Zaporozhskaya Oblast (state), began insolvency procedures for the Berdyansk-based Azov greases and oils plant (Azmol). Filings from investors and creditors were due to the court by Jan. 18, 2014.

Over the first three quarters of 2013, Azmol had slashed its finished output to only 712 tons, an 85 percent production slump compared to January-September 2012. During this time Azmol losses mounted to around $4.9 million, 18 percent more compared to the prior years losses.

Formed 75 years ago, and transformed into a state-owned business in 1994, Azmol was one of the oldest and largest lubricant and grease producers in Central Europe, as well as a member of NLGI and ELGI, the European Lubricating Grease Institute.

Monson to Market Algal Oil

Monson Co., a company of the Koda Distribution Group, has been chosen to distribute a new type of base oil: high oleic algal oils. The oils, sold under the Renewable and Tailored trademarks, are made by Solazyme Inc., a South San Francisco, Calif.-based maker of bioproducts. Monson will be responsible for the oils marketing and distribution throughout the United States and Canada, as well as assisting customers with technical and laboratory support, and applications for the material. Our goal is to accelerate the development and commercialization of products formulated with Solazymes Tailored high oleic algal oil, said Kodas president and CEO, Frank Bergonzi.

Algal oil is made from low-cost plant based sugars derived from algae. Solazyme says it has benefits of both natural and synthetic oils, including enhanced lubricity, excellent viscosity, high flash point, low toxicity, improved stability and predictable performance. Steve Barney, president of Monson, said the distribution agreement extends his companys list of high-value offerings for the lubricants industry beyond more traditional sources such as petroleum, plant and animal fats. We have been looking for the right replacement product for quite some time. Our customers depend on us and require products that meet the changing industry and government demands.

Head Off Machinery Woes

The Chicago Section of STLE is offering a one-day seminar, March 19 at Argonne National Laboratories, for anyone who maintains lubricated machinery or specifies or tests lubricants for such equipment. Predictive and Preventive Maintenance of Lubricated Machinery will open doors to modern techniques including lubricant monitoring and analysis, root cause failure analysis, and key tools such as ultrasonics, thermography and vibration analysis. The fee ($200 for STLE members; $250 for others) includes continental breakfast, lunch and presentation flash drive. Lodging and dinner options are also available. Visit for online registration and details, or contact Patrick Brutto of Dow Chemical: or 847-808-3766.

Idemitsu Opens Vietnam Plant

Japans Idemitsu Kosan announced last month the start-up of a new lubricant plant in Haiphong City, Vietnam. Officials said the 31,000 tons per year facility is meant to take advantage of Vietnams quickly growing market. With a population of roughly 90 million in 2013, of which more than 60 percent is under the age of 30, Vietnam has been enjoying economic growth of approximately 6 percent a year, the company noted. It foresees an even faster pace of growth for lubricants demand.

Until now, Idemitsus lubes in Vietnam were produced by toll blenders. The new plant was completed in December and has begun supplying product to Japanese motorcycle and automobile manufacturers in Vietnam. The plant will make automotive and industrial lubricants.

Idemitsu Kosan said it also intends the Haiphong plant to serve as a base for sales to other parts of Southeast Asia. It has set a goal for the plant to reach sales volumes of 20,000 tons and revenue of 950 billion dong (U.S. $45 million) by 2015.

Liqui Moly Invests in Lubes

Liqui Moly, the German motor oil and aftermarket additive manufacturer, aims to invest nearly E20 million (U.S. $27.4 million) to grow production by 2015, including E17 million in its lubricant business.

The Ulm-based blender will double its laboratory capacity, install new tanks and boost output of both oils and greases, said Ernst Prost, managing partner. More personnel, more equipment, more space – quality control and new developments are vital for us and are simply a part of our Made in Germany concept.

Liqui Moly has seen rapid growth, and also invested E12 million two years ago for storage tank facilities. It increased its number of employees by 53 in 2013, to a total of 646, and said it plans more hires this year.

BRB Set to Build

BRB International, a producer and supplier of silicones, additives and chemicals based in Ittervoort, Netherlands, is set to expand its operations. The company in December signed a letter of intent with the town of Leudal for a 4.5-hectare expansion at the Ittervoort industrial estate, where BRB will start building a new additives plant. The company notes that half of the total expansion planned for the industrial estate is already accounted for. This new agreement with the municipality means that BRB will be able to tailor the upcoming construction fully to its own requirements, in order to support continuing growth.

New Home for NLGI

After 49 years in the same Kansas City location, the National Lubricating Grease Institute recently relocated its international headquarters to one of the citys southern suburbs. The new office space in Lees Summit, Mo., is double the square footage of the previous office, providing much needed storage and organizational areas for the growing Institute, said Kim Bott, executive director. The new address: NLGI, 249 SW Noel, Suite 249, Lees Summit, MO 64063. Web:

Briefly Noted

North Carolina company Fast Lube Plus announced that its five quick-lube locations (in Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Garner and Morrisville) have become the first motor oil installers in the state to be certified under the American Petroleum Institute Motor Oil Matters (MOM) program. MOM certification is a third-party distinction which demonstrates to consumers that a motor oil installer adheres to the highest possible industry standards and delivers only quality motor oils.

Deutsche Oelfabrik GmbH (D.O.G.) appointed Sea-Land Chemical Europe as sole distributor of its lubricant additive products in the U.K. and Nordic regions. The portfolio includes sulfurized additives, lubricant packages and corrosion inhibitor packages. As sole distributor, Sea-Land Chemical Europe will handle all marketing and sales activities, including communications with customers related to logistics and technical services.

The Eagle Award, Chevrons top honor for lubricant distributors, went for the second year in a row to Western Marketing. Western earned the highest score on significant performance milestones, such as sales of Chevron premium lubricants and coolants over the preceding 12 months, year-over-year volume growth, and delivery of value to customers. Mike Miller, Western Marketings president and CEO, stated, Earning the Eagle Award in back-to-back years with Chevron is fantastic.

Faces in the News

After more than 30 years, Jim Hanesworth has stepped down from the chairmanship of Sea-Land Chemical Co. He was succeeded as chairman by fellow board member Don Smith, effective Nov. 22. Hanesworth continues to serve as a director of the specialty chemical distributor, where he has been instrumental in putting essential corporate governances in place as well as leading the Executive and Compensation Commit­tees, noted company President Joseph Clayton.

Also, Mike OConnor joined Sea-Land Chemical as regulatory manager. A Certified Safety Profes­sional, OConnor has over 15 years of experience in chemicals, steel and plastic manufacturing, warehousing, distribution and customs compliance, including with Neville Chemical Co. and Oatey.

Kelly Shea was hired in November as business development manager at San Joaquin Refining, the Bakersfield, Calif., naphthenic base oil refiner. Based in Houston, she is responsible for marketing naphthenic oil into the grease, metalworking, rubber, adhesive, solvent, drilling and transformer oil markets among others. She has more than 20 years experience in the refining industry, most recently at Nynas USA.

Leigh Smith is now vice president of sales and marketing with Nu-Tier Brands, the Tulsa, Okla., company responsible for making and marketing Gulf brand lubricants. She has over 20 years of experience in the lubricants industry with expertise in indirect, direct and OEM sales, product line management and marketing, including with Shell Oil Products U.S. and Citgo. She is also an STLE Certified Lubrication Specialist.

The Tribology Gold Medal for 2013 has been conferred on American professor Jacob Israelachvili, Ph.D., for his outstanding contributions to tribology, in particular for his understanding of its molecular origins and tribological processes, of measurements, and of surface forces. Prof. Israelachvili obtained 1st class honors and later his doctorate at Cambridge (U.K.), and has been active for decades at the Univ. of Canberra and Santa Barbara, Calif.

Chuwong Supasit­thumrong joined Houghton as managing director in its Thailand office, responsible for growing sales, market share and profitability in Thailand and Vietnam. He spent the past 13 years in key sales and marketing roles at Nalco. Houghton also welcomed Edwin Pan to its Singapore office as sales manager for Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Pan, who is charged with managing its sales team and distributors to drive profitable growth and increase market share, joined Houghton from Blaser Swisslube.

Wichita, Kans.-based Universal Lubricants appointed Bud Snodgrass as director of logistics. He and his team will plan, implement, control and optimize the movement of the companys products between its 32 facilities and customers. A global operations veteran, Snodgrass has managed supply chain, logistics and operations for a number of U.S. organizations including Zesta Golf, Elmers Products, Coleman, and Koch Industries.

Cannon Instrument Co., which makes viscosity-related products and testing equipment, hired Lori Fields in the new position of marketing manager with the goal of accelerating recent growth. She will direct Cannons strategic and tactical marketing activities including planning, new product support, advertisement, promotion and electronic marketing. Fields brings over 16 years of business-to-business sales and marketing experience in high technology, scientific industries.

Also at Cannon, Mary Beth Weaver has been promoted to customer service and inside sales manager, and Frank Saylor is now vice president of key accounts and international sales. The company also named Patricia Argiro as technical sales representative for the Northeast United States, servicing existing accounts and generating new business.

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