BASF Adds PAG Capacity
BASF successfully started up its new polyalkylene glycol plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany, in May. According to a company spokesman, the facility is now producing a wide range of PAG base stocks and synthetic lubricants for industrial applications, such as gear oils, compressor oils, metalworking applications and fire-resistant hydraulic fluids.
A 2014 press release indicated that the plant would be a double-digit-million euro investment, integrated with BASFs largest Verbund site in the city with backward integration into all key raw materials, including ethylene oxide and propylene oxide. The new facility increases security of supply for BASFs customers in the lubricant industry, the company said. Capacity was not disclosed, but LubesnGreases estimates it at 12,000 metric tons per year, similar to Ludwigshafens existing PAG unit.
Afton Opens Singapore Plant
Afton Chemical opened a lubricant additives factory in Singapore in May. Despite a slowdown in the Asia region since it broke ground on the plant, Afton officials emphasized the long-term need to have manufacturing capacity in the area that is the global industrys growth engine.
We have a strong technical team in the region, and we need a plant here so we can have products made for and in the region, President Rob Shama said.
Those at the opening ceremonies heard that this first phase of the plant construction has 25,000 metric tons a year of capacity, and makes detergents for blending with other components and base stock diluent to produce lubricant additive packages. Afton already has an expansion under way that will bring the total investment to SG $400 million, due to wrap up next year. The second phase is adding units that produce dispersants and zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate (ZDDP) antiwear agents.
This is Aftons first greenfield plant construction in 35 years. The products it sells in Asia have been supplied from factories in the United States and Europe.
China Automaker Flexes Lube Muscle
In late April, Dongfeng Motor Lubricating Oil, a lube-producing arm of one of Chinas largest automakers, Dongfeng Motor Corp., opened a blending plant in Shiyan, Hubei province. Buying base oils mainly from ExxonMobil and additives from multinationals like Infineum, the company said it aims to supply the upper tiers of Chinas lubricant market.
With capacity to produce 100,000 metric tons per year, the new facility will mainly supply automotive lubricants for Dongfengs diesel-powered commercial vehicles. Eighty percent of the lubes will be for diesel engines, the rest for gasoline engines. Besides filling its parents vehicles, DMLO will also sell lubricants to other manufacturers, such as engine maker Cummins.
DMLO already operates lubricant plants in Beijing and Qingdao, both in northern China. Hubei is in central China, where Dongfeng Motor is headquartered.
API Modifies Donut for FA-4
The American Petroleum Institute will adopt a unique, trademarked service symbol to help consumers identify the newly approved API FA-4 diesel engine oil, which is designed to protect the next generation of diesel engines. API approved FA-4 along with API CK-4 in February, and will begin licensing both Dec. 1.
The FA-4 donut was developed to help truck owners who need FA-4 oils easily recognize the oil and distinguish it from CK-4 oils, said Kevin Ferrick, APIs senior manager for engine oil licensing.
For CK-4, API retained the same donut trademark used with CJ-4 and earlier specifications. The symbol for FA-4 is based on the same design but splits the top half of the concentric circles, with one side colored or shaded. Announcing the new symbol May 16, API displayed a sample with that segment of the donut shaded red, but said other colors and shades including black are also acceptable. API hopes the FA-4 symbol is similar enough that truck operators and fleet managers will recognize it as an engine oil standard – but different enough to distinguish it from CK-4.
While both new categories offer performance gains, API FA-4 has a lower high-temperature high-shear viscosity than the API CK-4 minimum of 3.5 centiPoise. So FA-4 is not backwards compatible and, until engine manufacturers say otherwise, may not meet warranty requirements for existing engines. CK-4 is intended for servicing 2016 and earlier equipment.
Gulf Oil Enters Poland
Gulf Oil International and Boss Oil Ltd. started a lubricant distribution operation in Poland through Gulf Polska, a new joint venture. Gulf Polska will take over the operations of Oil Trading Poland, a currently licensed distributor for Gulf lubricants there, and will aim to expand the old distributors operations, according to the companys director Rob van den Bosch.
First we will act as an importer and deliver through a network of distributors in Poland, he said. We also plan to develop a chain of Gulf fuel stations in the country. It will help us to further increase the brand awareness in Poland.
The company is not planning a lubricant production facility in Poland, Bosch said. At this point there is no plan to set up a blender. All the products we sell in Poland are now produced at the Q8 plant in Antwerp, Belgium.
Fuchs Plans Bigger Plant
Fuchs Petrolub is building a lubricants blending plant in Suzhou, Chinas Wujiang district, to replace its existing, smaller plant in Shanghai. Expected to open in 2018, the new facility offers several benefits including favorable logistics and proximity to customers, the company said.
The design capacity of the Wujiang plants first phase is 80,000 metric tons per year, based on a single-shift operating schedule, and will have room for expansion, said a spokeswoman for the German independent lubricant supplier.
Our existing Shanghai plant has a capacity of 50,000 metric tons per year, she said. We plan to ramp up our new Wujiang plant in the second half of 2018. After completion, we will close the plant in Shanghai and relocate our activities to Wujiang.
The Wujiang plant will have a product portfolio similar to Shanghais, including automotive and industrial oils, metalworking fluids and anticorrosion products.
JASO Updates Moto Spec
The Japanese Automotive Standards Organization (JASO) has updated its four-stroke motorcycle engine oil standard with redefined clutch friction parameters and a new reference friction plate and reference oils for testing. The industry is still awaiting a test that measures an oils ability to prevent gear pitting.
The industry had been waiting for an update since the 2011 version caused mis-categorization of several frictional properties, according to Infineum International regional marketing manager Nick Burton. Formulators choosing to meet the voluntary standard will now test their products against new reference oils and a new friction plate. Oils meeting the 2016 standards will be allowed to display a new logo starting Oct. 1.
Q8Oils Completes Antwerp Expansion
Q8Oils, the downstream arm of Kuwait Petroleum International, in May opened its expanded and upgraded 111,000-metric tons per year lube blending plant in Antwerp, Belgium.
Completed with an investment of U.S. $100 million, the plant can scale to a production capacity of up to 221,000 t/y. Its site along the river Scheldt – also home to Q8Oils headquarters – has 24 base oil storage tanks and 42 additive tanks. It is served by highway, rail and sea shipments and houses a river jetty that can accommodate ships holding up to 5,000 tons. A tank that it refers to as a mega-blend vessel has capacity to blend batches as large as 353 tons. The facility features semi- and fully-automatic filling lines and, according to the company, can manufacture a wider range of products than any other such facility in Europe.
Songwon Enters Antiox Market
South Korean specialty chemicals manufacturer Songwon Industrial Co. is expanding its product range of phenolic antioxidants for the Asian fuel and lubricant additives market, citing overall economic growth and rising automotive sales in the region.
The company said it will offer both solid and liquid antioxidant products. Antioxidants are used in additives to inhibit lubricant oxidation, a deterioration process caused by churning and exposure to high temperatures.
Sales of vehicles and a rise in economic activity in India and Northeast Asia are driving up demand for lubricant oils and, in turn, for additives, asserted Olivier Keiser, leader for lube additives at Songwon.
Emerald Sells Antioxidant Plants
As part of a three-way deal that also involved Singapore chemicals supplier DyStar, Jiangsu Sinorgchem Technology Co. acquired two Emerald Performance Materials factories that make antioxidants for lubricants and other industries.
DyStar Global Holdings, through its United States subsidiary DyStar LP, agreed to buy Emeralds Specialties, Polymer Additives and Nitriles businesses, including five U.S. manufacturing sites. DyStar in turn agreed to sell two of the plants – in Akron, Ohio, and Henry, Illinois – to Shangai-headquartered Jiangsu Sinorgchem.
The Akron and Henry sites produce a range of additives, including aminic and phenolic antioxidants used as intermediates for lubricants, according to Emeralds corporate website. Aminic antioxidants protect base oils and greases from heat and oxygen that may cause corrosion, deposits and viscosity breakdown.
New Group II/III Plant in Kazakhstan
Kazakh lube maker Hill Corp.s base oil production project is moving forward again after an earlier unsuccessful bid to find a contractor. It is again soliciting construction bids, with hopes of breaking ground in 2017.
The plant, in Shymkent, will use process technologies licensed from Chevron Lummus Global. It is expected to produce around 40,000 tons/year of API Group I base oil and 210,000 t/y of Group II and III, according to Nurshat Maratov, chief of marketing. The base oil plant will primarily supply our blending production, and the rest of the base oils will be exported to China, Iran and Russia, he added.
Since 2010, Hill (an acronym for High Industrial Lubricants and Liquids) has operated a 70,000 t/y blending plant in Shymkent.
Singapore Lube Park Opens
Singapore Lube Park – a joint venture involving Sinopec, Total and Shell – officially opened in the islands Tuas area in late May. The facility includes an import and export jetty, common pipelines, infrastructure and storage facilities for the partners lubricant and grease manufacturing plants, which are located on separate sites adjacent to the lube park. There are four berths at the jetty, and a tank farm – storing base oils and finished lubricants – with 159,000 cubic meters of capacity. The three partners plan to expand the tank farm to 208,000 cubic meters.
They declined to disclose investments details.
Ineos Adding LAO in Texas
Ineos Oligomers will build a linear alpha olefin (LAO) unit at its site in Chocolate Bayou, Texas, with 420,000 metric tons per year of capacity – 20 percent more than when the project was originally announced. Once the unit comes on stream in November 2018, the companys global LAO production capacity will reach approximately 1 million metric tons per year.
We continue to see strong, above GDP growth for LAO in the key markets we serve: polyethylene comonomers, polyalphaolefin lubricants and drilling fluids, said Business Director Joe Walton.
Three of the U.S. Midwests largest petroleum distributors – Boyer Petroleum (in Des Moines, Iowa), Moore Oil Co. (Milwaukee), and the distribution arm of Lubrication Technologies Inc. (St. Paul, Minnesota) – have merged to form Lube-Tech & Partners LLC.
In April, Krahn Chemie took over distribution of the Additin industrial additive packages of Rhein Chemie Additives throughout Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Malaysias Hyrax Oil will construct a blending plant in Sri Lanka to supply lubricants for national oil company Ceylon Petroleum Corp.
Italmatch Chemicals of Genova, Italy, has acquired North American specialty additives producer Compass Chemical International LLC.
The Uz-Prista Recycling base oil rerefinery (capacity: 30,000 t/y of Group I) opened in Uzbekistan in May. The project is a joint venture between Bulgarian lube maker Prista Oil Group and Uznefteprodukt, part of state-owned energy giant Uzbekneftegaz.
Lukoil broke ground in May on a 100,000 metric tons per year blending plant in Almaty, Kazahkstan.
European oil and marine lubricants trader KPI Bridge Oil acquired South Koreas KTB Oil Corp. as part of a strategy to expand its presence in East Asia.
Faces in the News
Eric Schnur was appointed president of Lubrizol and will become chairman and CEO on Jan 2, 2017. He succeeds James Hambrick, who has begun a transition period to complete his 38-year career with the Wickliffe, Ohio-based company. Rick Tolin replaces Schnur as corporate senior vice president and president of Lubrizol Advanced Materials.
Infineum has made a number of corporate-level executive appointments, effective the first of this month. Aldo Govi, currently Lubricants Business manager, will be promoted to executive vice president of sales. Philippe Creteur will move from his current role as CFO and executive vice president of finance and business services to executive vice president of supply. Pat Bost joins the company as CFO and executive vice president of finance and IT, bringing over 30 years experience with ExxonMobil Finance. Fu Limin has become president of Infineums China operations, including the role of sales director, and Carl Howard has joined as general counsel.
Ashland subsidiary Valvoline, which is moving towards a public offering, has a new chief financial officer: Mary Meixelsperger. Based in the companys Lexington, Kentucky, headquarters and reporting to CEO Sam Mitchell, Meixelsperger joins Valvoline from shoe retailer DSW, where she served as senior vice president and CFO.
Oxea has appointed Salim Al Huthaili as chief executive officer of the Oberhausen, Germany-based company, part of Oman Oil Co. Al Huthaili first joined Oxea in early 2015 as chairman of the supervisory board, then joined its executive board. He previously worked for Oman Oil, Muscat and Royal Dutch Shells Middle East operations. Al Huthaili holds a Ph.D. in engineering from Englands Univ. of Nottingham.
Lockhart Chemicals Darren Mylie has assumed responsibility for the daily sales activities of its subsdiary Additives International, taking over from Greg Jorjorian, who now has responsibility for acquisitions, strategic growth and marketing at Lockhart Chemical. Mylie recently joined Lockhart as vice president of sales and operations. Jorjorian was a part of the group that founded Additives International in 2006, after his 25 years with Angus Chemical.
Evoniks Oil Additives appointed Jen-Lung Wang as oil additives country manager for China. He will lead the China team and assume responsibilities for Asia-Pacific business development. Wang began working with Evonik in 2000 as senior research scientist.
NASA scientist Christopher DellaCorte has become editor of Tribology Transactions, the Society of Tribologists & Lubrication Engineers (STLE)s peer-reviewed journal. He takes over from Purdue professor Farshid Sadeghi, who retired after a six-year term as editor.
Ellen Shirley Schwartz, 80, died May 8 at home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, from complications of Alzheimers disease. A Ph.D. chemist with over 20 patents, and a gift for languages, music, writing and teaching, Schwartz worked early in her career for BASF Wyandotte. While there she patented a successful water based hydraulic fluid during the 1970s oil crises. She later joined General Motors Research, where she and her colleague Donald Smolenski invented and patented the Oil Life Monitor – standard on GM cars and trucks since the mid-2000s. Schwartz is credited with designing the critical algorithm that underpins the monitor, using data from the engines computer to calculate remaining oil service life from variables such as engine speed, load and temperature. Prior to this breakthrough, consumers believed that 3,000 miles was the limit for oil change intervals, but the monitor let drivers typically go twice that or more. For lubricants, though, the monitor was a two-edged sword, cutting into volume sales while opening the door to higher performance. The invention earned Schwartz the prestigious Kettering Award, and similar devices are now installed in most U.S., Japanese and European autos.
Schwartz published hundreds of scientific papers and presentations in her career, and for many years had a widely read column, Love Letters to the Lubrication Engineers, in the journal of the Society of Tribologists & Lubrication Engineers. Survivors include her husband Ronald, three sons, six grandchildren and many other relatives.