Clariant and Huntsman to Merge
Specialty chemical giants Clariant and Huntsman Corp. reached a definitive agreement to merge by the end of this year.
The all-stock transaction was unanimously approved by both companies boards of directors. Clariant shareholders will take 52 percent of the stock in the new company, with Huntsman shareholders owning the remaining 48 percent.
Huntsman and Clariant have a combined 100,000 metric tons per year of polyalkylene glycol capacity. The merged company will be the third-largest producer of PAG in the world, behind Dow Chemical and BASF, and also will have amines and esters in its portfolio.
HuntsmanClariant aims to direct up to 15 percent of its focus to automotive, marine and aviation products, and 15 to 20 percent to industrial products, said Huntsman President and CEO Peter Huntsman in a conference call.
We will be a more important partner in this constantly changing and innovative field [of automotive end markets], he added. This is vital to both companies, as we dont want to be just suppliers of raw materials, but partners in developing new specifications and applications.
HuntsmanClariants global headquarters will be in Pratteln, Switzerland, and its operational headquarters will be in Woodlands, Texas. Clariants CEO, Hariolf Kottmann, will serve as chairman of the new company, while Peter Huntsman will be its CEO.
Industry Debates Canadian Biocide Limit
A Canadian proposal to lower application rates for a formaldehyde-free biocide based on a mixture known as CMIT/MIT has drawn opposition over concerns it would reduce biocide effectiveness in metalworking fluids.
The Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency reduced the maximum CMIT/MIT application rate in metalworking fluids to 8 parts per million. The mixture had previously been approved for use in Canada at 15 parts per million.
Following the review of the relevant scientific studies, PMRA concluded that the maximum CMIT/MIT application rate should be reduced to mitigate health risks of concern from the sensitization effects of CMIT/MIT, said Anna Maddison, a spokesperson for Health Canada, the department that manages PMRA.
Maddison said that all registrants with affected products were informed of the decision and required to file an application to revise their product labels. Once approved, the revised labels will be available on PMRAs website.
The Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association sent a letter to PMRA in April urging the agency to maintain its existing rate for formaldehyde-free biocides based on the chemical mixture. The association noted the longstanding and effective use of CMIT/MIT to combat microbial growth in water-based metalworking fluids and the implications for fluid replacement and worker health and safety if fluids become contaminated due to ineffective biocide treatment levels.
In addition, the American Chemistry Council formed a task force to address PMRAs assessment and held a conference call with the agency to discuss the benefits of CIT/MIT, its toxicity and the impact of lower levels in metalworking fluids. The task force requested a delay in label amendments and requested additional consideration for conclusions regarding use levels.
Puraglobe Launches Group III
Puraglobe began streaming API Group III base oils last month at its upgraded Troeglitz, Germany, rerefinery. The facility, which previously made only Group II oils, will have capacity to produce 50,000 metric tons per year of Group III.
With this start-up we will have converted 50 percent of our production from Group II+ into Group III, said Puraglobes President and CEO Andreas Schueppel. The Troeglitz rerefinery has the capability to produce a total of 100,000 tons per year of rerefined base oils, and marks Puraglobes first foray into producing Group III.
Frankfurt, Germany-based Puraglobe will continue its investment in Group III through its U.S. joint venture, Puraglobe Florida, with U.S. rerefiner NexLube Tampa. NexLubes Group III rerefinery in Florida will be completed by the end of next year, it said.
Chevron Phillips Expands PAO
Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. completed the expansion of low-viscosity polyalphaolefins production in June at its Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown, Texas, adding 20 percent more capacity.
The Cedar Bayou PAO expansion raised capacity from 48,000 metric tons per year to 58,000 t/y to help meet increasing demand for high-performance lubricants. The new units feedstock will come from the sites 100,000 t/y expansion of normal alpha olefins capacity. PAO molecules are made by assembling NAOs into longer chains.
Chevron Phillips Chemical markets PAOs under the brand name Synfluid, which includes both high- and low-viscosity PAOs used for a variety of automotive and industrial lubricants.
Russia Upgrades Base Oils
Slavneft, the 50-50 joint venture of Russian oil majors Rosneft and Gazprom Neft, started manufacturing API Group III base oils at its upgraded plant in Yaroslavl, Russia, last month.
The upgraded portion of the facility will make 100,000 metric tons per year of Group III oils. Until now, the Yaroslavl plant had capacity to make 250,000 t/y of Group I.
In late August we will ramp up high quality base oil production in Yaroslavl, said Tibur Leimeter, head of research and development, standardization and technology at Rosnefts subsidiary RN-Lubricants. These products are meant to substitute for the imported Group III base oils coming into the Russian market.
Rosneft is also working on a 250,000 t/y Group II upgrade at its Novokuibyshevsk refinery, which is due in April 2018, Leimeter confirmed. At the moment, the refinery has capacity to produce 230,000 t/y of Group I base oil, which will be scaled down to 100,000 t/y in 2021.
China StandardizesWind Turbine Oils
China recently introduced national standards for greases and lubricants used in wind turbines that will become effective Oct. 1.
Jointly developed by Sinopec Ltd. and Anshan Haihua Oil Grease Chemical Co., along with several major Chinese wind turbine manufacturers, the GBT33540 standard establishes performance parameters for open gear greases, bearing greases, gear oils and hydraulic oils used for yaw gears, pitch control bearings and other turbine components.
We studied the standards in Europe and the United States to make sure that the China standards are in line with international standards, but also suitable to serve Chinas conditions, said Pan Wei, a Sinopec engineer involved in the specifications development. The majority of Chinas wind farms are located on hills in remote areas, such as the Xinjiang autonomous region and in Gansu province, which both experience extremely low winter temperatures.
Like many other Chinese national standards, however, the wind turbine oil standards are not mandatory. A marketing manager at Shenyang Original Chemical Co., one of Chinas few private wind turbine oil suppliers, said that the standards could serve as reference for lube suppliers, but our clients standards will be our priority when it comes to compliance.
Oxea Upgrades Plant
Oxea completed an upgrade of its carboxylic acids production facility in Oberhausen, Germany, increasing output of short-chain fatty acids that can be reacted to make synthetic esters for lubricants.
The new production capacity was not disclosed, but Oliver Borgmeier, Oxeas vice president of operations and derivatives for Europe and China, said in a news release that the upgrade significantly improves the overall output of acids across [Oxeas] multisite, multi-product acids platform.
Gazpromneft-Lubricants will triple its supply of marine lubes to the fleet overseen by Russian state agency Rosmoport by more than 1,500 metric tons by the end of 2019. The company also opened an office to sell marine lubricants in Vladivostok, on Russias Pacific coast.
PetroChoice opened a distribution center in Lamesa, Texas, to serve western Texas and eastern New Mexico.
Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. split out its lubricants manufacturing and marketing operations into a wholly-owned subsidiary, Shell Lubricants Japan K.K., which will handle the companys manufacturing, storage, export and import of lubricants to customers in Japan and other markets.
Take 5 Oil Change acquired Burlington, Kentucky-based QuikStop Oilube, which has four locations in Ohio, five in Kentucky and one in Indiana.
Allied Lubricants NZ will distribute ExxonMobils Mobil Lubricants to all Bridgestone Select stores in New Zealand.
Chinese lubricant trader Jiangxi Hua Hang Petro began producing its own brand of motor oils and industrial lubes at a 10,000 metric tons per year facility in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province.
Lukoil launched its synthetic automotive lubricants range in the United Arab Emirates through a partnership with distributor Al Habtoor Motors.
Faces in the News
The Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers named its executive committee for the year 2017-2018 during its annual meeting and exhibition in late May. Michael Anderson of Falex Corp. was appointed president of STLE. He is joined by vice president Greg Croce of Chevron Products Co.; secretary Michael Duncan of Daubert Chemical Co., and treasurer Paul Hetherington of Petro-Canada Lubricants.
Lubrizol Corp. made several changes to its senior corporate management. Bob Graf, v.p. of research and development, assumed the newly created position of v.p. of data science and analytics. Julie Edgar took over Grafs role, and also serves as chief sustainability officer. The company named Tesham Gor v.p. for corporate strategy and consumer insights. In addition, v.p. for engine oils Tom Curtis will be appointed senior v.p. and president of Lubrizol Additives, effective Nov. 1. He replaces Dan Sheets, who will retire at the end of 2017 after 33 years with the Wickliffe, Ohio-based additives manufacturer.
Stephen Forsyth is now chief integration officer on Lanxess management board. He will be responsible for incorporating the acquired businesses of Chemtura, where he held the roles of executive vice president and CFO. The German company also appointed Jens-Christian Blad head of corporate development, effective Sept. 1. He replaces Markus Eckert, who will lead Lanxess Urethane Systems business unit.
Vasu Bala joined Tiarco Chemical as global technical director for the companys lubricant, latex and water treatment additives. Bala previously worked with Afton Chemical and most recently with BASF Corp., where he led global technology and technical marketing operations.
Troy Corporation named Ismael Izzy Colon senior vice president for science and technology. Colon has over 40 years of experience in the specialty chemicals industry, including 20 years at Troy.
Sanjiv Singh is now chairman of Indian Oil Corp. He will also serve as chairman for the state-owned oil companys subsidiary, Chennai Petroleum Corp.
Hi-Tech Lubricants Ltd. appointed Faraz Akhtar Zaidi as the companys director, replacing the late Muhammad Basit Hassan.
Jeff Cox was appointed vice president of the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association. Prior to joining AMRA, Cox had various leadership roles in marketing and education at Bridgestone.