ARG Sweet on Novvi
American Refining Group has committed to a 33.3 percent equity investment in Novvi LLC, joining Emeryville, California-based Amyris Inc. and Brazilian sugar company Cosan S.A. as an equal owner of the lubricants joint venture. Employing plant materials such as sugar and cellulose, Amyris has a renewable chemicals technology which Novvi is using to make API Group III base stocks. Bradford, Pennsylvania-based ARG will provide an outlet for these biobased base oils through its finished lubricant blending business.
Our partnership with American Refining Group will help accelerate our growth by providing the necessary resources to ensure manufacturing, supply and delivery capabilities, to scale our business for volume and to meet customer expectations, Novvi CEO Jeff Brown said.
Novvi uses Amyriss plant-derived farnesene, a pure hydrocarbon, to make base stocks at a Texas toll-manufacturing facility. The base oil unit began operating in late 2014 with capacity of 250 barrels a day. The amount of ARGs investment and the total capitalization of the j.v. were not disclosed.
Fuchs Buys Synlubes Maker
Fuchs Petrolub SE has acquired Delaware-based Ultrachem, which makes and markets specialty synthetic lubricants for the compressor original equipment manufacturer and industrial maintenance markets. Terms of the deal, expected to close by the fourth quarter, were not disclosed.
Ultrachem will continue to operate out of its New Castle, Delaware location, where it has a 55,000 sq.ft. manufacturing facility. According to Fuchs, Ultrachem generated sales of 15 million euros (U.S. $16.8 million) in its 2015-2016 fiscal year, almost all of it in North America. In addition to compressor oils, Ultrachem offers food-grade lubricants, greases, vacuum pump oils, chain oils, impregnating oils for powder metal sleeve bearings, refrigeration oils, motor oils and more.
Vertex Opens Adnocs Taps
Houstons Vertex Energy said it is now marketing the API Group III made in the United Arab Emirates by Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. As agent for Adnocs distributor, Netherlands-based Penthol C.V., Vertex said the first cargo of 75,000 barrels of base oil arrived in Braithwaite, Louisiana, at the end of July.
Vertex and Penthols U.S. subsidiary Penthol LLC, will handle marketing, sales and logistics in North America, as they offer the base oils in 4, 6 and 8 centiStoke viscosities under the Vertex-Penthol name.
Vertex-Penthol have arranged logistics infrastructure, utilizing storage tanks, new rail cars, trucks and barges for the delivery of base oil to customers identified by Vertex throughout the United States, Penthol LLC Chairman Faruk Erkoc said. Vertex has the market knowledge and depth of experience that gives us confidence that our investment in the United States will provide early and ongoing returns.
Adnocs refining arm, Takreer, started commercial production at the 10,000 b/d plant in Ruwais, U.A.E. in April.
Oelheld Widens U.S. Footprint
German metalworking fluids manufacturer Oelheld recently broke ground on a 23,400 square foot manufacturing and warehouse facility in West Dundee, Illinois, to meet increased demand for its products in the United States. The facility will serve as a new headquarters for Oelheld U.S. Inc., and will increase its production capacity. It also gives the company more storage space, an R&D laboratory and a station for unloading tankers. The site will replace Oelhelds current one located a few miles south in Elgin, Illinois.
To be completed by December, the new facility will include 15,800 sq.ft. of warehouse space and another 16,000 sq.ft. of space which the company has earmarked for future manufacturing expansion.
Partnership Launches in Jamaica
Allegheny Petroleum and its distributor partner Paramount Trading Jamaica Ltd. are building a 7,500 metric ton/year lubricants blending plant in Kingston, Jamaica, with commissioning expected at the start of 2017.
The joint venture plant will encompass 15,000 square feet on a 1.5-acre site. Wilmerding, Pennsylvania-based Allegheny is providing information technology, including inventory control software, and equipment such as tanks and pumps for the project. PTJ will operate the plant and provide personnel as well as the land, which adjoins a current Paramount plant. Allegheny declined to disclose the cost of the project.
The plant initially will produce heavy duty diesel engine oils, along with transmission fluids, gear oils and hydraulic oils, and later passenger car engine oils. Allegheny will also import grease as a finished product from U.S. facilities. A full lubricant testing laboratory will run at the site, it said, for both quality control and used oil analysis focused on extending drain intervals.
Rhein Chemie Outlines Growth
Specialty chemicals company Lanxess recently gave details on its expanded capacities for making light-colored sulfur carriers in Mannheim, Germany, and Kallo, near Antwerp, Belgium. The expansions strengthen the position of its Rhein Chemie Additives unit in the highly specialized industrial lubricant additives business, the company said. Light-colored sulfur carriers are used as extreme-pressure additives in metalworking fluids, greases and gear oils, among other lubricants.
Our high capacities for light-colored sulfur carriers make us one of the top three global suppliers. And we want to move to the front of the field in the future, stated Dr. Martin Sawe, head of the Lubricant Additives business line. We have now expanded the capacity of our production plant for light-colored sulfur carriers at our Mannheim site by about 20 percent. The investment was completed in late 2015 and totaled 1.5 million euros; debottlenecking increased Kallos capacity by a comparable amount.
ASTM Eyes T-13 Diesel Oil
A newly proposed ASTM International standard, WK52873 Test Method for Evaluation of Diesel Engine Oils in T-13 Diesel Engines, will evaluate diesel engine oils for oxidation performance characteristics. This will help ensure that industry guidelines are used, and trucks and other vehicles receive the proper oil for T-13 engines. ASTM Committee D02 developed the standard with support from ASTM Internationals Test Monitoring Center (TMC).
We welcome industry stakeholders who want to use and improve this important test method, says ASTM member Hap Thompson, president of Global PPL Standards Associates in Saint Johns, Florida. In particular, the TMC is providing reference oils as well as engineering and statistical services to laboratories that desire to produce test results that are statistically similar to those produced by laboratories previously calibrated by the TMC.
Primary users of the standard will be lubricant laboratories, oil blenders and lube manufacturers, as well as operators and regulators wanting to ensure that fleets are receiving the proper oil for their equipment. ASTM welcomes participation in the development of its standards. Website: www.astm.org/join
Handi Moves on Group II
Chinese base oil refiner Hainan Handi Sunshine Petrochemical Co. is moving ahead with a delayed expansion of its API Group II plant, though the project has now been scaled back. The second plant being built at the companys refinery on Hainan island is now expected to have capacity for 100,000 t/y of Group II and III oils, a company representative told Lube Report Asia last month. Previously the project was to have 800,000 t/y. The expansion is said to be under construction and moving to open by late 2017.
As part of the project, Honeywell UOP and ExxonMobil will be jointly licensing their refining technologies to Hainan Handi. UOP will provide its Unicracking technology, which converts higher-boiling hydrocarbons into lower-boiling fractions such as base oil, diesel and jet fuel, and ExxonMobil will contribute its proprietary MSDW catalytic de-waxing technology, which helps convert waxy molecules into highly refined base oil.
Auburn to Host Tribology Expo
Companies and organizations involved in tribology and lubrication will want to attend Auburn Universitys 2016 Tribology Symposium & Exposition on Sept. 19. Among the events, Prof. Lorenzo Cremaschi will speak on Nanolubricant Heat Transfer in Thermal Energy Systems, and tribology minor undergraduate and graduate students will present research on topics such as modeling boundary and mixed lubrication, nanoparticle additives and bio-derived lubricants and coatings.
Auburn is the first university in the U.S. to offer an undergraduate minor in tribology and lubrication science. Attendees can learn more about the program, tour the tribology laboratory and network with industry colleagues. The event wraps up with a career fair where companies can interview students for internships and job opportunities. Lunch and dinner will be provided, and all proceeds will go to support the Tribology Minor program.
This is a great opportunity to meet our students and faculty while on the beautiful Auburn University campus, said Robert Jackson, the tribology program director. Register: aub.ie/tribologysymposium. Email: email@example.com
Saudi Blender Plans Plant
Saudi lube supplier Gulf Start Factory Co. for Petroleum Industries has signed a deal to build a blending plant in the industrial zone of King Abdullah Economic City, a development under construction 100 kilometers north of Jeddah. Construction is set to begin later this year in the $86 billion planned city being built along the coast of the Red Sea.
Jeddah-based Gulf Starts 15,677-square-meter site will be in the megaprojects Industrial Valley. Cost and a timeline of the blending plant werent disclosed, nor was a production capacity figure. Gulf Start, which makes lubricants under the Neutron and Shield brands, will sell the line of products throughout Saudi Arabia, the Arab League countries and Africa.
Sanyo Expands in China
Sanyo Chemical Industries lubricant and additive plant in China is less than a year old, but the Japanese company is already considering an expansion. The facility, located in Jiangsu province, makes viscosity index improvers and finished lubricants marketed under Sanyos Aclube brand.
We are looking into expanding our plant capacity in China as we think it may not be enough to meet demand, a company representative said. The expansion would double the overall capacity to 10,000 t/y. The plant started production in January.
In the future, we will also look into the set-up of another new plant in Southeast Asia or the United States, as we want to market our Aclube products worldwide, he added. The company expects to invest about U.S. $42 million in new capacity.
Shell Adds Philippines Hub
Shell recently inaugurated a bulk storage terminal for lubricants in Guiguinto, the Philippines, its first new lube facility in the country since the obligatory demolition of its oil depot in Manilas Pandacan neighborhood last November. The new 425-ton facility handles bulk storage of a range of products including marine, engine, industrial and hydraulic oils. It is not meant to replace the companys Pandacan location, which housed Shell fuels and lubricants storage along with a blending plant.
The terminal is located in the Tiaong district of Guiguinto, in Bulacan. Shell did not confirm or deny reports that the facility is valued at 6 billion pesos (approx. U.S. $127 million).
Faces in the News
Raj Minhas is the new president and CEO of Lockhart Co. Minhas holds a masters in chemical engineering from the University of Toronto and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He was most recently COO of the companys Lockhart Chemical division.
Stephane Torres has joined Axel Asia Pte Ltd in Singapore as managing director, effective July 1. He drives the companys sales efforts in Southeast Asia, where he has lived since 2006.
Sonneborns Jon Giberson has been promoted to vice president and general manager, Americas, with full responsibility for all commercial, manufacturing and technology activities in the region. Giberson joined the New Jersey-based manufacturer of white oils and specialty hydrocarbons in 2005, after positions with Honeywell, Witco and Mobil Chemical.
Renewable chemicals, esters and additives marketer Acme-Hardesty has three new regional sales managers. Brad Merz covers Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and West Virginia; Tom Koutsos covers the Midwest region from his base in Chicago; and Ron Barker, operating from Redondo Beach, California, is responsible for the Western region.
Former NASA astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper is now a member of the Auburn Univ. Tribology Advisory Board. The volunteer panel works to promote the science of tribology and the universitys minor degree program in that discipline.
Sea-Land Chemical promoted Scot Wahl to product marketing specialist, with responsibilities that include researching and developing new markets for the Ohio-based companys portfolio of products. Wahl joined Sea-Land in 2004 and previously held an inside sales role. The specialty chemical distributor also named Buck Evans as customer relations specialist, making him the primary contact for inside sales and technical support. He joined Sea-Land in 2004.
Lowell Smith has joined Nycos team in North America, where he will help to sell the companys synthetic formulated lubricants, military-spec greases and hydraulic fluids for aviation.
Loren Blumberg recently joined Benz Oil as director, strategic alliances, and is charged with achieving strategic growth objectives. Based in Michigan, he has 23 years of sales and marketing experience with Castrol Industrial, and prior to that worked for the bearing company Torrington. The Wisconsin-based independent lubricant company also tapped Patty Rose to be its director of marketing and product manager. Another Castrol Industrial veteran, she brings 28 years of leadership experience in technology, marketing and customer-centric roles.
Brazilian conglomerate Ultrapar last month announced its Ipiranga subsidiary will enter a joint venture with Chevron Brasil Lubrificantes, as a way for both companies to further expand their reach in Brazils lubes market.
Indonesian oil giant PT Pertamina, along with joint venture partner Saudi Aramco, awarded British firm Amec Foster Wheeler a contract to engineer and manage the upgrading of its integrated Cilicap refinery, including its base oil production (currently 8,600 b/d of Group I).
Afton Chemical has pushed back the completion of phase two of its Singapore additives plant expansion, which is to boost dispersant and zinc dithiophosphate antiwear agent capacities, from 2017 to the following year.
Nanotech Industrial Solutions appointed Luval S.A. as an authorized distributor, and also named Aponte & Asociados SRL as its distributor in the Dominican Republic.
Audax Private Equity acquired Ohio-based fuels and lubes distributor RelaDyne from AEA Investors for an undisclosed sum, and said it will expand it through further acquisitions. RelaDyne was formed in 2010 by the merger of four big Midwestern distributors, and has been rolling up other players ever since, most recently the lubricants division of Hollingsworth Oil in mid-June.
Velocys will delay indefinitely its proposed 5,000 b/d gas-to-liquids wax and specialty chemicals plant in Ashtabula, Ohio, citing challenges in raising equity. Velocys said the U.S. wax market is strong, but it is reviewing the plants place in its overall strategy.
Petronas Lubricants International will sell its Syntium brand synthetic motor oils to U.K. end users for the first time, through a deal with auto-parts retailer Halfords Group plc.
Kyodo Yushi Co. has completed a synthetic grease plant in Kameyama city in Japans Mie prefecture. While the nations lubricant demand is slowly contracting, the company said grease demand is rising due to the expanding automobile industry.
Indonesia is writing a national standard for lubricants and plans to implement it in the near future, which the government hopes will restrain the flow of imports and reduce the volume of substandard lubes.
The article on polyalphaolefins in our August issue (“The PAO Plot Thickens,” page 34) erred regarding the viscosity index of Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.’s Synfluid brand mPAO 100 cSt. Its V.I. is 192, not 190.