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ExMo Opens High-vis PAO Plant

ExxonMobil Chemical has opened a new metallocene polyalphaolefin synthetic lubricant base stock plant at its Baytown, Texas, chemical complex, boosting its global PAO capacity by 50,000 metric tons per year. Cost of the plant was not disclosed.

Baytown will make high-viscosity SpectraSyn Elite mPAO base stocks using a proprietary metallocene catalyst process. These stocks offer higher viscosity index, improved shear stability and enhanced low-temperature properties, observed Russ Green, the companys global synthetics vice president, and the venture will support the expected long-term global growth of synthetic automotive and industrial lubricants. With existing plants in Beaumont, Texas, and Gravenchon, France, the companys PAO capacity now totals 144,500 tons per year.

Warren Inaugurates Grease Production

Having completed an expansion at its West Memphis, Ark., plant last November, Warren Oils Warren Unilube Inc. in early April completed trial runs and reached full production of new grease manufacturing and packaging operations. The plants annual capacity is 10 million pounds of lithium, lithium complex, anhydrous calcium and calcium sulfonate greases. Half of the operations will produce Warren- and Coastal-brand products while the remaining capacity will be dedicated to private-label packaging, the company said. Packaging will range from 3 oz. tubes to 400 lb. drums, including 14 oz. tubes, 1 oz. tubs, 4 oz. tubs, 35 lb. pails, and 120 lb. kegs. The grease plant also can provide bulk shipments.

Vertex Bags Rerefining Assets

Houston-based Vertex Energy Inc. is buying Omega Holding Co.s rerefining assets, including a used oil collection network, two oil processing facilities in Louisiana, the Bango Oil rerefinery in Nevada, and a former Cam2 blending plant in California, for nearly $50 million in cash, stock and assumed liabilities. (Omega recently sold Cam2, sans the blending plant, to its president, Jack Baker, and a group of investors.)

This acquisition will catapult Vertex to the second-largest used motor oil rerefining company in North America, just behind Safety-Kleen, Vertex CEO Benjamin Cowart said in a March 20 conference call. Together, Vertex and Omega represent 110 million gallons of used motor oil refining capacity.

In the two-step deal, which was to close last month, Vertex first will acquire Omegas used oil facilities and collection networks in Marrero, La., and Myrtle Grove, La., plus the California blending facility. Later this year, Omega will sell to Vertex the Bango Oil rerefinery in Fallon, Nev. Bango Oil will continue to operate as a full-cycle rerefinery, using hydrotreaters to produce base oil. It has capacity to produce 1,400 barrels of API Group II base oil per day. Referencing a fire last December, Omega CEO Dave Peel noted that the plant had some setbacks, but is currently running just short of full capacity.

Shreveport Lures Lube-Tech

In February, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Lube-Tech CEO Chris Bame announced a $16 million capital investment by the company in the state, where Lubrication Technologies will renovate a manufacturing facility in Shreveport. The project will create 75 new direct jobs. The Shreveport site will manufacture lubricants and related fluids for the power sports, marine and outdoor power equipment markets, and represents Lube-Techs first major investment in the South.

Calumet Licenses VoltEsso

Calumet Specialty Products Partners has inked a licensing agreement with Imperial Oil Ltd., through which Calumet will produce, market and sell bulk transformer insulating oil into the Canadian market under Imperials VoltEsso brand. VoltEsso electrical insulating oils are formulated from high-quality base stocks and select additives that provide excellent low temperature performance and resistance to oxidation and sludge formation in electrical service, the companies said. These oils are designed and manufactured to provide cooling, and to help insulate transformer components against electrical corona and arching.

Venture to Make Castor Oil in Mexico

BioFields S.A.P.I and Germanys Helm AG have signed an exclusive supply and marketing agreement for the worldwide distribution of castor oil the former will produce in Mexico. BioFields will start the first phase of castor oil production in 2015 and then ramp up to 150,000 metric tons of annual capacity in coming years. Castor oil is used in a wide range of industries, including lubricants and greases, oleochemicals, polyurethanes and other specialties. The agreement calls for Helm to manage all marketing, distribution and supply chain for the entire production volume globally, and for BioFields to supply Helm for at least 15 years.

Shell Spends Big in Asia

Shell on March 25 opened an 8,600-square-meter, nine-story lubricants and oils technology center in Shanghai, China. Representing an investment of Yuan 1.8 billion (U.S. $290 million), the centers goal is to attract and support business in China and in neighboring countries. The center occupies a nine-story, 8,600 square meter building in the high profile Zhangjiang High-tech Park, and will house research on a wide range of lubes and greases, including passenger car and heavy-duty engine oils, motorcycle oils and transmission fluids, as well as specialty oils and greases. This Shells third major technical center, joining labs in Houston and Hamburg, Germany.

Southern Stakes for Universal

Universal Lubricants in February expanded its lubricants distribution center in Robstown, Texas, creating a 3,000-sq.ft. space to further supply and serve customers in south Texas. The Kansas company also launched a 12,000-sq.ft. distribution center in Baton Rouge, La., to serve Louisiana and Mississippi. The Southeast represents a tremendous growth market for our company, said Rick Palmore, vice president of distribution and sales.

Group II Headed for Africa

To support its growing presence in API Group II base oils, Chevron Products Company has tapped Umongo Petroleum Additives to distribute its premium base oils in South Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa. A Level 2 Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment company based in Umhlanga Ridge, South Africa, Umongo began as an additives distributor and later added Group I and Group III base oils to its product slate. Its now one of the regions largest independent distributors of additives (Oronite, Evonik and BASF) and base oils.

S-Oil Targets Australia, NZ

Taking aim at Australia and New Zealand, which lack any domestic base oil refineries, South Koreas S-Oil has named Australasian Solvents and Chemicals Co. to market and sell its Group II and III base stocks there. S-Oils Group II base oil brands, Super-31 and Super-96, are now available at an ASCC storage tank in Geelong, Australia. ASCC will be acting as S-Oils local agent to serve blenders in Australia and New Zealand, and the base oils will also be directly available from the companys production site in Onsan, South Korea, it said.

Pertamina to Boost Capacity

Indonesia state energy company Pertamina will build a lubricant blending plant and a grease plant, both in Jakartas Tanjung Priok port area and costing a combined 1.3 trillion rupees (U.S. $114 million). The 800 billion rupee blending plant will be able to make 350,000 tons per year of lubricating oils and should be completed in December. Construction of the grease plant will begin in June 2015, and when completed, will lift Pertaminas greasemaking capacity over the 8,000 t/y mark.

Briefly Noted

Houghton International closed its acquisition of Henkels North American Steel Mill business, which includes rolling oils, pickle oils, wet temper fluids and steel mill-specific cleaners… Cam2 International became the national marketer for Eni and Agip branded lubricants in the continental United States… Champion Oil announced Guangzhou Aisheng Trading Co. Ltd. is its exclusive master warehouse distributor in the Peoples Republic of China (as well as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao), and Tsengeg Orkhon Co. Ltd. its exclusive master warehouse distributor in Mongolia… The U.S. federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration has made the HCS 2012 Small Entity Compliance Guide available on its HazCom website, …

Faces in the News

Matt Munz is the new director of base oil sales at Heritage-Crystal Clean, the Indianapolis rerefiner and base oil manufacturer. A graduate of Indiana Univ., his lubricants industry background includes work with Calumet, Summit Resources and most recently Axel Americas.

Joseph Rousmaniere on April 1 joined the headquarters team at Chemlube International, as business development manager for the companys base oil. Rousmaniere built the base oil marketing and sales team at Petronas in Malaysia, and most recently was with Petronas Lubricants International.

Karissa Mooney has joined HollyFrontier Refining & Marketing as manager of product development and quality. Shell work on multiple areas involving process oils, base oils and waxes, including new initiatives for tire and agricultural products. Mooneys career has included leadership roles at Hudson Cos., Citgo Asphalt and NuStar Asphalt.

Christy Henley is now sales team leader at Sea-Land Chemical Co., the specialty chemical supplier she joined in 2004. Previously East Coast account manager, she now covers a revised sales territory and has team leader responsibilities for the eastern U.S.

Matthias Zachert, previously chief financial officer of Merck in Darmstadt, Germany, took over as chairman of the board of management of Lanxess AG on April 1.

Todd Judy and Kevin Schettler have joined the sales team at Cam2 International. Judy brings 29 years of industry experience, including with Citgo, Shell Oil and Cross Oil/Martin Lubricants. He largely will focus on the U.S. Southeast. Schettler has spent 25 years in the automotive lubricants industry (with Valvoline, BP Castrol and Cross Oil/Martin Lubricants) and will service the Midwest.

Stephen D. Kelley and Robert Mancil have joined the executive team at Smittys Supply Inc. Kelley is now vice president and chief financial officer, after 12 years with Martin Resource Management; he most recently was vice president and CFO of Cross Oil/Martin Lubricants. Mancil, Smittys new vice president of operations, also brings long industry experience including with Specialty Oil, Pennzoil-Quaker State, Coastal Unilube, Warren Oil and most recently, Martin Lubricants.

Specialty chemical distributor Walsh & Associates, Inc. has named Steve Bihun as director of purchasing. A Univ. of Toronto graduate, Bihun has experience as chemical buyer and strategic sourcing and procurement specialist.

Robbert Gorter is now managing director at chemical distributor ICH Benelux BV, a subsidiary of Krahn Chemie. Gorters background includes chemical sales and marketing, purchasing and new business development, and he holds MBA and chemical engineering degrees. He succeeds Joost Boon, ICHs former owner who will be leaving at midyear.

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