Market Topics



Inolexs Lexolube Division Sold

Zschimmer & Schwarz acquired Inolexs Lexolube synthetic esters division and is building another esterification plant to increase its own production capacity by more than 50 percent.

The Milledgeville, Georgia-based company was previously a supplier for Inolex and purchased its product line to accelerate growth in the lubricants market, said Zschimmer & Schwarz CEO William Burton. The subsidiary of German parent company Zschimmer & Schwarz Group has 80 million pounds per year of ester production capacity at its Milledgeville plant.

Were building a new facility to continue our growth, to add another 50 million pounds. We have targeted a 2018 start-up for the new facility, said Burton.

Lexolubes synthetic esters can be used in food grade lubricants, high-temperature greases, metalworking fluids, fire-resistant hydraulic fluids and textile and compressor applications.

To guarantee a smooth transition, Inolex will continue to produce Lexolube products at its plant in Philadelphia until manufacturing is transferred to the Milledgeville site. Sales for Lexolube products will be exclusively handled by Zschimmer & Schwarz.

Base Oil Plant

China National Offshore Oil Corp. started producing base stocks at its fuels and petrochemical refinery in Taizhou, China. The new plant has capacity to make 400,000 metric tons per year of paraffinic API Group II+ oils and 200,000 t/y of naphthenic oils.

The Taizhou plant is CNOOCs third such facility, part of a 10.2 billion yuan (U.S. $1.5 billion) project to expand the types of chemicals and oil products made at the complex. Officials said the company also plans to build a blending plant at Taizhou that will use base oils to make premium finished lubricants, but did not disclose a timeline.

GF-6 Lags Until 2019

ILSAC GF-6, the passenger car engine oil upgrade under development, has slipped behind schedule again and may not get its commercial launch until 2019. The original target for GF-6 to complete testing was January.

The major delay in completing GF-6 is the Sequence IVB valve train wear test, which uses a four-cylinder Toyota engine. The first precision matrix on the Sequence IVB failed to provide discrimination between passing and failing reference oils, in large part due to hardware, engine design and test stand layout.There were also questions about how the reference oils respond, as the test has been modified to seek discrimination.

Shells Scott Lindholm, chairman of the Auto-Oil Advisory Panel, said the delays could mean that the final ILSAC GF-6 specification wont be approved until May 2018, with API licensing beginning May 2019.

Gazprom Expands in Europe

Russian oil major Gazprom Neft will build a lubricants blending plant in Western or Central Europe.

Alexandr Trukhan, head of Gazpromneft-Lubricants, said that the manufacturer requires additional lubricant production capacity in Europe to keep up with its rapid expansion into overseas markets. Last year, the company started to market its products in Vietnam, South Korea, Poland, South Africa and Colombia.

The final decision on the plants location and capacity will be ready by mid-2017, Trukhan added.

Gazpromneft-Lubricants expanding presence in other countries raised export volumes of premium products to 68,000 tons for the first nine months of 2016, 21 percent more than during the same period the year before. The company currently operates two blending plants in Europe, one in Bari, Italy, and another in Novi Sad, Serbia.

East Africa to Add Blending Capacity

Two of Africas largest oil companies plan to open blend plants in several East African countries within the next two years.

Chelan Jain, managing director for Mount Meru Petroleum Zambia, said the company will begin lubricant blending in Lusaka, Zambia, in June, and in Tanzania and Rwanda in 2018. The three blending plants will each have capacity of 2,000 metric tons per year.

Kampala, Uganda-headquartered Mogas will also launch a 22,000 t/y lube blending plant in Tanga, Tanzania, in the first quarter of this year. Mogas has contracts for toll blending, but is now transitioning to blending lubricants on its own due to growing demand for products. Ashish Goyal of Mogas noted that Tanzania only has three blending plants, which he sees as a gap in the countrys blending capacity.

Afton Secures Mexican Additives Firm

Afton Chemical Corp. entered into a contract to acquire Mexico City-based lubricant additives manufacturer and distributor Aditivos Mexicanos S.A. for $182.5 million that will be finalized within the first half of the year.

Neither company disclosed the capacity of Aditivos production facility in San Juan del Rio, northwest of Mexico City. The Mexican manufacturers chemical additives portfolio includes 10 categories of lube additive components, according to its website, including detergents, antioxidants, demulsifiers and antiwear, extreme pressure and anti-foam agents.

Aditivos Mexicanos website says the company is affiliated with Chevron Oronite. The subsidiary of U.S.-based energy company Chevron is a competitor of Afton and another of the four main additive package suppliers.

Briefly Noted

Idemitsu Kosan Co. completed the purchase of 31.3 percent of fellow Japanese refiner Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. for 159 billion yen (U.S. $1.4 billion). The companies expected merger was derailed after a descendant of Idemitsus founder opposed the tie-up last summer.

Saudi Aramco signed a joint venture development agreement with Indonesias PT Pertamina to own, operate and upgrade their Cilacap fuels refinery in Java, Indonesia, which includes modifying the API Group I base oil plant for Group II production.

Chevron made an equity investment into Novvi LLC, a joint venture of Amyris Inc., Cosan S.A. and American Refining Group, to gain access to biobased base oils.

Faces in the News

Roman Myrna was appointed vice president of manufacturing at Sonneborn. Myrna has more than 25 years of experience overseeing operations at specialty chemicals facilities.

Calumet named D. West Griffinexecutive v.p. and COO. Griffin has served in executive management roles for a number of energy corporations over 30 years.

Eric Schnurassumed the chairman, president and CEO roles for Lubrizol Corp., succeeding James Hambrick, previously chairman and CEO, who completed a 38-year career with the company. Schnur, who has been with the company more than 27 years, previously served as president and COO of the organization as well as president of the Lubrizol Advanced Materials business segment.

Pilot Chemical made several appointments to its executive team. Derek Houck is the new CFO for the company. He replaces David Waizmann, who will serve as business director for marketing, sales and development. Chris Leedy was named v.p. of manufacturing and engineering, replacing Ken Eckroth, who announced his retirement in late November. Jeff Baxter is now supply chain director, previously serving as integrated supply chain manager. After working as regional sales manager for Latin America, Sarah Mester will be director of corporate development. Susan Leslie was named v.p. of environmental, health, safety and quality after serving as v.p. of technology and business services.

Croda promoted Scott Davis to manager of strategic accounts for lubricants and polymer additives. Davis previously oversaw accounts in the Midwest United States.

Paul Kerwin joined United Kingdom-based Multisol Group as base oils account director. Previously, he was European Sales Manager at SK Lubricants.

Staci Springer joined Ergon Corp. as global technical marketing manager for process oils. She previously served as senior director for industrial products at TerraVia (formerly Solazyme Inc.) and technical sales manager for Fuchs Lubricants.

John Schaeffer Shields

John Schaeffer Shields, chairman of Schaeffer Manufacturing Co. in St. Louis, Missouri, died Dec. 5 at the age of 91. Shields career began in 1951 at IBM, then at Projected Planning Co. and W. Alfred Hayes & Co. In 1981, after the successive deaths of the companys three principals – his brothers, president Tom Shields and vice president Gwynne Shields, and v.p. and national sales manager Marty Schwab – Shields and his sister, the late Jacqueline Shields Hermann, restructured the company to keep it family-owned for future generations. Shields became chairman that same year, overseeing the companys growth to approximately $140 million in sales both in the U.S. and 40 other countries.

Related Topics

Market Topics