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Calumet Streams Group III

Calumet Specialty Products started production of API Group III base oils at its plant in Shreveport, Louisiana, the only virgin Group III produced in the United States at this time.

The company did not disclose the capacity, the technology it is using to make the oils or the impact on total yield at the plant. The 4 centiStoke Group III base stock, marketed as Calpar 4GIII, is designed for use in engine oil formulations to improve gas mileage, reduce emissions and extend oil drain intervals, the company claims.

The addition of Group III production to our Shreveport product slate demonstrates Calumets commitment to keeping up with todays evolving marketplace, Bill Anderson, executive vice president of sales, said in a news release. This launch broadens and enhances our portfolio, which now includes products across Group I, Group II, Group III and Group V.

Minor Cline, industry analyst for Cleveland-based research firm Freedonia, said that base oil refiners in the U.S. have historically focused on Group I and II base oils, leaving lubricant blenders to rely on imports for their Group III needs.

The analyst noted that domestically produced Group III oils have an opportunity to compete on a cost basis with imported base oils. By formulating its premium lubricants with its own Group III base oils, Calumet will be able to control and reduce its own costs, Cline pointed out.

California Reviews Oil Ban

A California agency is adjusting the regulatory language on a law prohibiting the sale of any engine oil deemed obsolete by the American Petroleum Institute and considering valid uses for such oils in response to requests from industry representatives, including the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association.

Kevin Schnepp, an environmental program manager with the California Department of Food and Agricultures Division of Measurement Standards, said it is drafting regulatory language to remedy this issue and has suspended enforcement of the statute until regulations can be fully developed and implemented.

The new law, known as Assembly Bill 808 before it went into effect in January 2016, prohibits the sale of any obsolete engine oil and requires product labels to clearly indicate compliance with API, ACEA or original equipment manufacturer specifications as well as the lubricants viscosity grade. The laws intent was to protect consumers from unknowingly purchasing engine oils that do not sufficiently protect their passenger car engines.

In a letter sent to the CDFA in March last year, ILMA argued that the bill inadvertently ignores valid and safe uses for obsolete oils. Holly Alfano, the associations CEO, noted that a strict reading of AB 808s mandate would create consequences for a number of the states consumers and that there are legitimate risks of damage to engines of antique and classic cars if a current API class engine oil is used.

Production Resumes at Pearl

Shell began repairs at its Pearl gas-to-liquids refinery in Ras Laffan, Qatar, in April, a process that could last at least a few months, and operators have started to resume base oil production at the facility.

Ramp-up of production at Pearl GTL has commenced and will continue into the summer, said a Shell representative. The oil major co-owns the facility through a 50-50 joint venture with Qatar Petroleum.

The Pearl refinery has one of the worlds largest base oil plants with capacity to make 300,000 metric tons per year of API Group II and 1.1 million t/y of Group III stocks. Production by the overall facility began to flag in December, when gasifier units that turn natural gas into liquid feedstock developed an unforeseen need for maintenance.

On Feb. 1, Pearl halted operations altogether, and Shell has not disclosed the exact cause of the problem with the facilitys gasifier units. Industry sources said that the loss of Pearls output was a significant factor, along with scheduled temporary maintenance shutdowns at other plants, in this years tightening of the Group III market.

ATIEL Launches Compliance Policy

ATIEL, the European lubricant industrys technical association, released a new policy to support lubricant marketers that make valid performance claims against the ACEA (European Auto­mobile Manufacturers Association) Oil Sequences, for which compliance with the European Engine Lubricant Quality Manage­ment System is required.

The policy seeks to encourage greater compliance across the industry through continuous monitoring of automotive engine lubricant quality in the market and the exchange of information and technical data to support education of lubricant marketers. It also provides a framework for marketers to take corrective action when addressing non-compliance issues. This includes procedures for ATIEL to give feedback and advice to marketers or to take action against them, depending on the non-compliance severity.

The new policy applies only to engine oils that claim to meet the requirements of the ACEA Oil Sequences, ATIEL noted, but the principles apply equally to other defined technical standards. The full document is available for download at

JAMA Proposes Low-Vis Spec

Members of the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association want to continue pioneering lower-viscosity oils by developing a specification for SAE 0W-8 engine oils for the countrys passenger car market by April 2019.

SAE International defined SAE 0W-8 and SAE 0W-12 viscosity grades by adding them to J300, its engine oil viscosity classification system, but SAE 0W-8 has not yet been incorporated into any major engine oil performance standard. JAMA aims to adopt it as one of the Japanese Automotive Standards Organizations specs, which are followed in Japan and throughout Asia where Japanese-made vehicles are popular.

While Japanese manufacturers of heavy-duty trucks and motorcycles develop JASO standards, Japanese passenger car manufacturers cooperate with their North American counterparts to develop passenger car motor oil specs through the International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee.

But members of JAMA believe they need their own JASO standard in this case, according to a source familiar with JAMAs objectives. Requesting anonymity, the source said that the proposed JASO SAE 0W-8 spec may not immediately be popular outside Japan and other countries in Asia, but will be good enough until the other two major developed markets-the United States and Europe-catch up. This may not be until ILSAC issues its GF-7 category, possibly several years after it releases GF-6 in 2019.

Bapco, Neste Dissolve Marketing Deal

State-owned Bahrain Petroleum Co. and Neste Oil will end their marketing agreement for base oils produced at their joint venture API Group III plant by Oct. 7, a Neste representative said.

Finland-based Neste will retain a 45 percent stake in the Bahrain Lube Base Oil Co., located at a solely-owned Bapco fuel refinery in Sitra, Bahrain, along with rights to market that portion of the output. The Bahraini partners, Bapco and Oil and Gas Holding Co., will market the remaining 55 percent.

The plant has capacity to produce 400,000 metric tons per year of Group III base oils. The original agreement allowed Neste to market 100 percent of the facilitys output while Bapco operated the plant. The dissolution of the agreement raises the question of who will sell the Bahrainis share of output and the possibility of a new marketer emerging.

Petronas Triples Capacity in China

Petronas Lubricants International opened its second lube blending unit in Weifang, Shandong Province, bringing its total annual capacity to 150,000 metric tons.

The U.S. $64 million facility will more than triple output at Petronas Shandong location in the Weifang Economic Development Zone. The blending facility had capacity of 45,000 t/y since Petronas established operations there in 2010 through its acquisition of Shandong St. Maria Lubricating Oil Co.

The new plant includes five fully-automatic, high-speed filling lines imported from Italy.The facility has also increased Petronas warehousing capacity, according to General Manager Wang Tianjie. The location can now serve as both a storage hub and a freight station in China, making it possible for the branch to consider exporting as well.

Apart from its wholly-owned Shandong location, Petronass Chinese blending operations include facilities in Chongqing, Beihai and Dalian through its Yuchai Petronas Lubricant Co. joint venture.

Russian Supplier Plans India Foray

Russian lubricants supplier Obninskorgsintez is set to expand its business in India this year by hiring local distributors and aiming to establish production in the South Asian country.

The company said it has identified a variety of industry niches in the Indian market to sell its lubricants, such as engine oils for the countrys expanding fleet of motorcycles and passenger vehicles. Our India plans include distribution of our own brand and distribution of co-branded products produced in our factory in Russia, said Evgeny Goryansky, the companys commercial director.

Obninskorgsintez operates a 125,000 metric tons per year blending plant in Obninsk, Kaluga Oblast, which produces passenger car, motorcycle and heavy-duty engine oils, and transmission and hydraulic fluids, as well as other automotive products under its Sintec and Sintoil brands.

Chevron to Expand Vietnam Plant

Chevron broke ground on an expansion of its lubricants blending facility in Hai Phong, Vietnam, the company confirmed.

Chevrons wholly-owned subsidiary, Chevron Lubricants Vietnam Co., selected the engineering and construction subsidiaries of Petrolimex, part of Vietnam National Petroleum Group, for the project, which began in April. The facility opened in 1999 with an initial production capacity of around 13,200 metric tons per year in the Dinh Vu Industrial Zone.

Chevron declined to disclose the plants current or projected capacity, or further details about the expansion. A Chevron spokeswoman confirmed that construction will be carried out while the plant is operating with the goal of minimizing disruption to output.

Briefly Noted

Royal Dutch Shell and Saudi Aramco finalized the separation of assets, liabilities and businesses of Motiva Enterprises. Saudi Aramco will assume full ownership of Motivas name, legal entity and its refinery at Port Arthur, Texas, which includes a 40,300 t/y base oil plant.

Elevance Renewable Sciences announced thatChemtura (now part of Lanxess) obtained global rights to develop, manufacture, use and sell products incorporating the Elevance Aria WTP technology in lubricant applications. The technology aims to combine the benefits of synthetic esters and polyalphaolefins into a single molecule. Lanxesscompleted the 2.4 billion euros (U.S. $2.6 billion) all-cash acquisition ofChemturaon April 21.

RelaDynesigned definitive agreements to acquire Abilene, Texas-basedWestern Marketing Inc., which supplies bulk and packaged lubricants to customers using internal combustion engines primarily for transportation, agriculture, and energy pumping and gathering systems.

Chinas Qingdao Copton Technology Co. will begin production at a 40,000 t/y lubricants blend plant in July, which will double the companys output in Qingdao, Shandong Province.

Durban, South Africa-headquartered Umongo Petroleum acquired fellow South African base oil distributor Orbichem Petrochemicals, which markets API Group I, II and III base oils, naphthenic process oils and transformer oils in various parts of the continent.

United Kingdom-based Morris Lubricants established a subsidiary in India and signed George Oakes as local distributor. Morris-branded products will be toll-manufactured by Standard Greases & Specialities at its facility near Mumbai.

Donaldson Co. Inc. acquired Anderson, Indiana-basedHy-Pro Filtration, which designs and manufactures filtration systems and replacement filters for stationary hydraulic and industrial lubrication applications.

Volkswagen Group UK entered a partnership with Fuchs Lubricants to supply Quantum-brand engine oils from Volkswagens genuine parts provider Trade Parts Specialists.

Spanish supplierRepsol appointedVietsea JSCto distribute its automotive, motorcycle and industrial lubricants in Vietnam.

Iranol Co. and Malaysias Petronas Lubricants International signed an agreement to produce engine oils and industrial lubricants in Iran.

London-based testing company Intertek acquired KJ Tech Services, a German company specializing in on-road testing.

LubeSourcewas appointed to distributeVeedolproducts in Ontario, under an agreement signed byAutomobile Solutions Americas Inc., which is the official licensee for the Veedol brand in Canada.

Arabian Petroleum Supply Company opened a service center in Jeddah to provide car repairs and oil changes using ExxonMobils Mobil lubricants. It is APSCOs second Mobil Service branch in Saudi Arabia.

Faces in the News

Todd Cawley has joined American Refining Group as global business development manager. Cawley has more than 20 years of experience in the oil industry, most notably working in sales at Sinclair Oil Corp.

Elevance Renewable Sciences named Karl Schoene CEO. He succeeds Tony Parnell, who became executive chairman of the companys board of directors.

Pilot Chemical hired Jeff Crume as regional sales manager for the Northeast U.S. He replaces Rob Pifer, who moved to the role of regional sales manager for the Midwest. The company also announced that Tom Melhorn, plant manager at its facility in Lockland, Ohio, retired from Pilot on May 1 after 38 years, serving 30 of those in his role at Lockland.

Amalie Oil appointed Paul McCoy regional manager for the Central United States. McCoy has held sales and management roles over a 25-year career, including at Pennzoil, Quaker State and Shell Lubricants.

Axel Christiernsson recently hired two account managers. Dennis Eijdenberg now manages Axels clients in the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland, while Per Nilsson serves the companys customers in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Anders Petersen is KPI Bridge Oils new bunker and lubricant trader at its Denmark office. Petersen has worked in bunker trading roles for companies in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Mumbai, India.

Walsh & Associates named two new account managers. Marcus Morgan will manage the companys clients in the Southeast U.S. and Shakil Vyas will oversee customers in the Southwest.


Mays article Group IIIs Heavy Duty Aspirations mistakenly said Iveco factory-fills its truck engines with SAE 0W-20 having 2.1 cP high-temperature high-shear viscosity. The minimum HTHSV for SAE 20 is 2.6 cP. Another engine builder is field testing oils at the lower viscosity.

Also in May, the Automotive column cited 1947 as the dawn of the American Petroleum Institutes MS sequences. That was the year API started its first oil quality labeling system. The MS engine sequence tests came later, in 1962.

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