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API Agrees to Supplemental Oil Category

TheAmerican Petroleum Institutes Lubricants Group voted unanimously at its Standards Meeting in August to move forward on establishing a supplemental passenger car engine oil category, as requested by the auto industry.

In addition to supplying all the protections of current API SN and ILSAC GF-5 products, this as-yet-unnamed supplemental category would immediately help protect turbocharged engines against low-speed pre-ignition, without waiting for a full category upgrade.

The Lubricants Group was unable to affirm, however, that the supplement could be up and running as soon as Jan. 1, 2018, as the automakers International Lubricants Standardization and Advisory Committee had hoped. The Lubricants Group did draw up a detailed list of action items and practical issues to resolve so that a realistic timeline can be nailed down.

The issues range from the lack of a ready test for measuring engine oil performance under LSPI conditions, to how to incorporate a light-duty engine oil supplement into APIs licensing system, to how marketers might distinguish the supplement on their product labels.

Ron Romano of Ford Motors, who chairs ILSACs lubricants working group, stressed that the supplement is urgently needed. LSPI protection is promised to be part of the upcoming ILSAC GF-6 specification, but that upgrade may not appear for two more years, while action on LSPI is needed now.

Romano said ILSAC also is proposing that there be no change to existing ILSAC GF-5 licenses: In the marketplace, those oils would still be able to show the API starburst trademark on their front labels. Rather, ILSAC hopes the new supplements designation could appear in the bottom of the API donut symbol on back labels. API should be able to circulate some designs for comment relatively soon, said Kevin Ferrick, APIs engine oil manager.

Repsol Invests in Puertollano Plant

Repsol is investing 5 million euros (U.S. $5.8 million) to raise production at its Puertollano, Spain, blending and packaging facility, with the goal of increasing domestic and international lubricant supply.

Repsol will increase the plants production from 115,000 metric tons per year to its full capacity of 170,000 t/y. The plant is expected to be operating at full capacity by 2019, noted Ivan Corral Pedraz, an internal communications officer.

The expansion comes as part of Repsols 2017-2021 strategic plan. Corral Pedraz said the investment will be used for improvements in blending lines, for the installation of new packaging lines, to create additional storage capacity and to increase loading capacity for trucks.

The company aims to increase total lubricant sales volume in Spain to 300,000 tons and to 1.2 million tons abroad, mainly in Asia and Latin America, according to a press release.

ATF Labels Face Rewrite

Labels on automatic transmission fluids will be clearer in some states starting Jan. 1, following recent handbook amendments adopted by the National Conference on Weights and Measures at its annual meeting in July.

The NCWM adopted changes to the labeling and documentation requirements in NIST Handbook 130 for transmission fluids. It also provides criteria for how to substantiate performance claims for multi-vehicle and suitable-for-use ATFs. The amendments specify labeling for containers including bottles, cans, multi-quart, drums and intermediate bulk containers and storage tanks, and directions for documenting transmission fluid sold in bulk and fluid installed from a bulk tank at time of vehicle service.

In a July 11 letter to NCWMs Laws and Regulations Committee, Holly Alfano, CEO of the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association, said the critical provision in the two items up for adoption is how oil marketers, including ILMA members, demonstrate transmission fluid performance claims. ILMA supports the language that allows the oil marketer to rely upon the field testing and other validation conducted by its additive suppliers, including data provided in confidence by the additive suppliers to the enforcement agency, she noted.

Petrobras Resumes Blending Expansion

Petrobras is reviving a dormant plan to expand its lubricant blending plant in Duque de Caxias, Brazil. Expected to begin this year and end by 2020, the project will increase production capacity from approximately 290,000 metric tons per year to 450,000 t/y.

The project originally began several years ago but was halted in 2012. Approximately 40 percent of the work has already been completed, according to Petrobras. A palletizing area and a new filling line for 1-liter bottles are currently operational, and an automatic vertical warehouse for storage and shipment of packaged products is expected to start up later this year.

Petrobras officials hope this upgrade will reduce production costs and aid the company in increasing sales of its Lubrax line of lubricants, which holds about 24 percent of the nations market.

Lukoil Forms Chinese Subsidiary

Lukoil established a lubricant subsidiary in China as part of its expansion in Asia-Pacific.

Lukoil Lubricants China Co. will handle the growing demand for the companys lubricants in the country, said a representative of the Russian energy giants lube division, OOO LLK-International. The company opened an office in the northwestern city of Urumqi and plans to open another in Shanghai.

Supplies to China [previously] went through authorized dealers in Russia and Kazakhstan and our Kazakh subsidiary, Lukoil Lubricants Central Asia, the spokesman noted. We have already opened a representative office in Urumqi. This fall we are getting ready to open the companys head office in Shanghai.

Urumqi is near the border with Kazakhstan, where Lukoil is building a 100,000 metric tons per year lubricant blending plant to cater to the Central Asia and China markets, which is expected to begin streaming next year.

Ineos to Produce Oxo Derivatives

Ineos Oxide, a branch of international chemical company Ineos, plans to construct new units to produce an array of oxo chemical derivatives used in the production of various products, including synthetic lubricants.

The company plans to conduct an engineering study into the production of 2-ethyl hexanoic acid and polyalcohols, such as trimethylolpropane and neopentyl glycol, all used as chemical building blocks or intermediates in manufacturing synthetic lubes. The project is a result of Ineos acquisition in March of French chemical manufacturer Arkemas 50 percent stake in Oxochimie, a joint venture of both companies which produces butanols, 2-ethyl hexanol and oxo aldehydes.

A location has not yet been determined. Ineos Oxide is considering its sites in Zwijndrecht, Belgium, and Dormagen, Germany, or a co-location with the existing Oxochimie oxo alcohol plant in Lavera, France.

ELGI Call for Papers

The European Lubricating Grease Institute announced a call for technical papers for its Annual General Meeting, with a deadline of Oct. 20. The 30th edition of the organizations meeting will focus on grease industry developments for the future of transportation, and will be held April 21-24, 2018, in London. Papers with topics related to the theme of the conference will be given high priority; ELGI also encourages authors to submit papers about other grease and lubricants industry topics for consideration. For information on sending paper topics, abstracts and lecturer details, visit www.elgi.org.

Fire Erupts at Rerefinery in Denmark

Avista Oil stopped production at its API Group I base oil rerefinery in Kalundborg, Denmark, following a fire on July 24. The investigation into the incident and its cause is ongoing, and the company has not determined when the plant will be back in operation.

We currently cannot give any forecast on how long the entire production at Kalundborg will be down, Leon Sloth Skovbo, managing director for Avista Oil Denmark A/S, said in an emailed statement. We are glad to have another European production facility at Avista, which helps in continuing the supply of the full product range to our customers. The Kalundborg rerefinery has about 42,000 metric tons per year Group I production capacity.

Briefly Noted

Calumet will roll out three new Bel-Ray product lines for passenger car, commercial and industrial lubricants by the first quarter of 2018. The products will replace some of the lubricants sold under Calumets Quantum brand, the manufacturer noted.

Clean Harbors announced its Safety-Kleen subsidiary is increasing the cost of its charge-for-oil program across its used oil collection network, as well as increasing its stop-fee program by undisclosed amounts to shore up margins squeezed by the decline in prices for crude oil and oil products.

Petronas Lubricants International will complete its $50 million blending plant in Patalganga, India, by the first quarter of 2018.

Lube-Tech & Partners LLC acquired three Mighty Auto Parts aftermarket products distribution franchises and an exclusive license to distribute Mighty-branded automotive products throughout parts of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. will transfer its lube business to subsidiary Shell Lubricants Japan K.K. on Nov. 1.

The government of India intends to sell its 51.11 percent stake in Hindustan Petroleum Corp. to state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. HPCL operates Indias largest base oil refinery.

Faces in the News

Dow Chemicalhas shuffled several executive roles.Pedro Suarez,president for Dow North America, was named chief commercial officer. He replacesJoe Harlan,who retired after the merger of Dow with DuPont in August.R. Matt Davis,corporate vice president of public and government affairs, added the responsibilities of corporate vice president and of Suarezs previous role to his title.

Chevron Lubricants announced that Farrukh Saeed, vice president of the companys division in Asia-Pacific, retired after more than 34 years. The company formed two new business units in the region following Saeeds retirement: Baomin Guo was appointed general manager for the Greater China lubricants unit in Beijing, while Rochna Kaul is now general manager for the companys Asia/Pakistan lubricants business based in Singapore.

Emery Oleochemicals named Eric Cecilio global business director for its biolubricants division. His most recent role was at Chemturas petroleum additives and urethanes business, where he served as commercial director for the Americas.

Paul Dufresneestablished lubrication services provider Reliability Playbook in Umatilla, Florida. Dufresne previously worked at Trico Corporation,Georgia-Pacific Chemicalsand Koch Industries and has 28 years of experience in lubricant maintenance and reliability roles.

The Petroleum Quality Institute of America announced Shane M. OKelly, CEO of bulk lubricant distributor PetroChoice, as a new member of PQIAs advisory board.

HydrotexhiredTodd Haklas South Dakota division partner to serve fuel and agricultural industries in the state.Stephanie DiGiovannialso joined the company as Wisconsin division partner, to manage the needs of the companys food processing, industrial and transportation customers.

Global Trading Manager John Mcilroy is the new president of Aegean Marine Petroleum after E. Nikolas Tavarios resigned in June. The company also appointed interim president Jean Jose Metey to vice president and head of corporate development.

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