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Ford Recommends FA-4 for F-150

Ford Motor Co. recently amended its engine oil guidance for small engine diesel-powered pickups, including the diesel version of the F-150, to recommendAPIFA-4 oils. The decision represents a slight softening of the automakers cautious stance toward the newest fuel economy diesel engine oil category.

The new guidance advises use of FA-4 oils for service fill in F-150 trucks with 3.0-liter diesel engines, which are new in 2018, and the Transit Connect, which will have a 1.5-liter engine when introduced in 2019. The company added, though, that it still believes FA-4 does not match the wear protection of API CJ-4, the previous category.

Ford still refuses to recommend FA-4s companion category, API CK-4, for use in diesel-powered trucks with larger 6.7- and 3.2-liter engines, in addition to older engines, instead opting for its own specification, WSS-M2C171-F1. The automaker has cited concerns about whether the oils provide adequate protection from engine wear.

ExxonMobil Plans Base Oil Hub in Spain

ExxonMobilwill open a new hub terminal in Valencia, Spain, in the first quarter of 2019, part of an effort to expand its supply network, the company announced.

The new hub terminal will be for vessel and truck loading of API Group II base oils.

The additional third-party hub terminal is part of ExxonMobils long-term plan to further expand its base stocks supply network. The broader supply network and scale will strengthen supply reliability and efficiency to meet customers needs today and in the future, an ExxonMobil spokesperson told LubesnGreases.

Ray Masson, director ofpetroleum products at trader and broker Pumacrown Ltd., said that the new Valencia terminals location will improve delivery logistics of the oil majors base oils. What [ExxonMobil is] aiming at is a larger, multi-grade terminal in the [Mediterranean] handling Group I, Group II and Group III base oils for distribution in Iberia, southern France and Italy, he noted.

Valvoline Expands Quick Lube Locations

Valvoline set to acquire Ottawa, Ontario-based quick lube franchise Oil Changers Inc. This deal is the companys second quick lube acquisition in Canada this year.

Financial terms were not disclosed. According to a press release, the transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2019.

Lexington, Kentucky-based Valvoline will take over all 31 Oil Changers locations, none of which used Valvoline-branded oils prior to the acquisition. Valvoline did not comment on which oils were previously offered at these locations.

The acquisition follows Valvolines purchase of Great Canadian Oil Change-Canadas third-largest quick lube franchise-and its 72 locations in July. All Oil Changers sites will be rebranded as Great Canadian Oil Change, according to Valvoline.

Isla Refinery Aims to Restart Production

CuracaosIsla Refinerycleared one hurdle to resuming production after current operatorPetroleos de Venezuela S.A.reached a $2 billion settlement with Conoco­Phillipson Aug. 20.

ConocoPhillips had seized assets from state-owned PDVSA-including crude oil for the Isla Refinery-to legally enforce an award granted by the International Chamber of Commerce. But the Houston-based oil company said it will suspend those actions after PDVSA agreed to pay the settlement over the course of four and a half years.

A Curacao official confirmed that the refinery is not running partly because the seizure deprived it of crude feedstock. The refinery includes a base oil plant that has capacity to produce 5,000 barrels per day of API Group I paraffinic base oils and 3,700 b/d of naphthenic stocks.

Venezuelas state-run oil company halted production at the 100-year-old refinery earlier this year due to a lack of crude oil shipments amid PDVSAs ongoing financial troubles. Isla Refinery and Curacaos government entered negotiations in September to seek out a partner to manage the refinery and were weighing proposals from 15 potential companies. PDVSA has leased the refinery sinceShellconveyed it to Curacao in 1985, and its current contract runs through 2019.

Hyundai Shell Expands Base Oil Plant

Hyundai Shell Base Oil, a 60-40 joint venture betweenHyundai Oilbank andShell, completed a 250,000-metric-ton-per-year expansion at its API Group II base oil plant in Daesan, South Korea, in September.

The base oil expansion cost $35.5 million, according to Hyundai Oilbanks business report. The plant now has a yearly feedstock processing capacity of nearly 1.3 million tons.

The expansion comes ahead of an initial public stock offering by Hyundai Oilbank, which is slated for this month and aims to raise 2 trillion won.

Lanxess Boosts Additive Production

Specialty chemicals companyLanxessis doubling its production of multifunctional lubricant additive dimercaptothiadiazole derivatives by adding an additional production line to its Mannheim, Germany, facility.

This investment is in the single-digit million euros; however, Lanxess declined to provide specific financial details.

The production line is responsible for the production of DMTD derivatives, which are used in industrial oils, greases and metalworking fluids to provide corrosion and extreme pressure protection. The expansion responds to increased demand for these specialty additives, said Martin Sawe, head of Lanxess lubricant additives business line.

Master Fluid Solutions Plans New China Plant

Master Fluid Solutions hasinvested in a new metalworking fluids blending plant in Taicang, China. The new facility is the Perrysburg, Ohio-based companys single-largest investment globally and will double its capacity in the country.

The manufacturer signed an investment agreement with the Taicang Port Development Zone government. The plant is still in the design stage and expected to be operational by late 2019 or early 2020, though an exact timeline has not been finalized.

The plant is part of the companys plan to expand in Asia, said David Barned, global vice president of operations and supply chain. He declined to comment on the capacity or cost of the new facility, but said Master Fluid Solutions plans to consolidate some of the production from its Shanghai and Tianjin facilities into the new plant in Taicang.

Parkland Acquires Rhinehart Oil

Parkland Fuel Corp., a Canadian distributor of fuels and petroleum products, acquiredRhinehart Oil Co. on Aug. 27in a deal that is expected to double the United States operations of the Calgary, Alberta-based company.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Utah-based Rhinehart will keep its brand names across all of its operations, said the companys co-CEO Dave Jardine.

With the acquisition, Rhineharts 10 distribution facilities join Parklands three, two of which are located in North Dakota and the third in Montana, to create a network of 13 distribution facilities. Parkland plans to continue investing in bulk storage and packaging facilities that handle bulk lubricant shipments into the Rockies and the Dakotas.

Parkland also acquired Mandan, North Dakota-based fuel and lubricants distributor Missouri Valley Petroleum Inc. on Aug. 28, including three more terminals in North Dakota.

Glencore, Sinopec Vie for Chevron Assets

The South African Competition Commission qualified a bid from a group backed by Swiss mining company Glencore to acquire 75 percent ofChevrons downstream operations in South Africa and all of its operations in Botswana. Chevron is now free to choose between that offer and another fromSinopec that was previously qualified.

Chevrons South African assets include a lubricant blending plant in Durban. News wires have reported the Glencore-backed bid to be in the range of $900 million to $973 million. Sinopecs $900 million bid was approved by the commission in January.

Chinas Sinopec originally reached a deal in March 2017 to buy those operations. In October, however, Glencore said it would finance a purchase of the same assets by South African investment firm Off the Shelf Investments 56.

Mitsui Chemicals Doubles Additive Capacity

JapansMitsui Chemicalsplans to build a second plant in Japan for the production of its ethylene alpha olefin viscosity modifiers. This move will double the companys capacity to make the fluids, which are marketed under the Lucant brand.

The new facility will be located in Ichihara, in eastern Japan, with capacity of 20,000 tons per year, and is expected to open in February 2021.

U.S. Firms Buy Stakes in Puraglobe

A private equity firm and an asset manager acquired stakes in rerefinerPuraglobe, which produces API Group II and III base oils in Germany.

Junction Energy Capital and Ara Partners Group did not disclose the amount of the investment nor the size of the stakes theyve taken in Puraglobe, but they described it as significant.

Neither the companies nor Puraglobe discussed how the funds would be used, but they did say the rerefiner has opportunities because of growing demand for Group III base stocks.

Puraglobe formed a joint venture in August 2016 with NexLube Tampa, Puraglobe Florida LLC, which plans to complete and commission NexLubes Group III rerefinery in Florida by the end of this year. Thats expected to have production capacity of around 57,000 tons per year.

Fuchs Sells Swiss JV

Fuchs Group sold its share in Swiss lubricants company Motorex AG Langenthal to Motorex-Bucher Group AG. The Germany-based lubricants manufacturer said it wants to compete directly and with trading partners in the Swiss lubricants market using its own brand.

The 50 percent stake was sold back at $17.1 million, ending a partnership between the two companies of over 40 years. The joint venture had focused on distribution of industrial lubricants under the Motorex brand. Fuchs declined to comment on the timing of the sale.

Briefly Noted

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued a stop-sale order for tractor hydraulic fluid products labeled, claimed or implied as meeting THF 303. The agency said manufacturers and distributors have six months from August 7 to remove the products from retail locations.

Burckhardt Compression and ExxonMobil signed a global lubricants collaboration agreement for cylinder lubrication oil and related services for operators of reciprocating compressors.

U.S. testing, instrumentation and technical support provider Koehler Instrument Co. signed a distribution and service agreement with German tribological modeling, simulation and analysis company Optimol Instruments Pruftechnik GmbH for its existing SRV greases test system users in North and Central America, as well as some Middle East and Southeast Asia markets.

India-based GP Petroleums entered an agreement with lubricant producerMag Lubeto manufacture and market GPs Ipol lubricants in the Middle East and Africa.

Petronas Lubricants International will begin operation of a new blending plant in Maharashtra, India, this month. The company invested $55 million in the new facility.

Sea-Land Chemical Co. will distribute Ulsan, South Korea-based Songwon Industrial Co.s aminic, phenolic, phosphite and thioester antioxidants-used in industrial lubricants, transportation lubricants and greases-to customers in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Finland-based Telko Ltd. acquired Danish lubricants distributor Square Oil A/S for an undisclosed amount. Square Oil A/S operates in the Norwegian and Danish markets with net sales of $3.4 million.

Lukoil will distribute more than 20,000 tons of engine, transmission, gear, hydraulic and circulating oil for the Federal Grid Co. of Unified Energy System in Russia.

Brenntag completed its acquisition of Wavre, Belgium-based specialty chemicals distributor Alphamin S.A., which supplies specialty polymers and waxes.

Australia and Indonesia recently signed a free trade deal, titled the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which will remove tariffs on petroleum lubricants between the two countries, among other products.

Total and China Communications Construction Co. signed a mutual preferred supplier agreement to extend their existing relationship to a worldwide perimeter. Total currently supplies the Chinese company with fuels and lubricants, mainly in Africa.

Faces in the News

Texas Refinery Corp. named Patrick M. Walshits new president. Walsh oversaw the lube manufacturers domestic lubricant sales and international sales divisions, and has held numerous management and executive roles at TRC and its subsidiaries over 35 years. The company also promotedJ.R. Hannanto senior vice president and chief operations officer.

Ergon Inc.promotedKris Patrickto chief operating officer for the company and its subsidiaries. Lance Puckett, senior vice president of the petroleum specialties marketing division, replaces Patrick as president of Ergon Refining Inc. and Ergon-West Virginia.

Darren Booth, vice president of operations at Lubrication Engineers Inc., was appointed president of the Petroleum Packaging Council.

Dick Wolpert, marine product line specialist, and Global OEM and Industry Liaison Gary Parsons both retired from Chevron Oronite in September. Richard van den Bulk is Parsons replacement.

Wanda Gonzalez was named plant manager for Pilot Chemical Co.s production facility in Houston. She most recently served as site manager at ISP Freetown Fine Chemicals Inc. in Freetown, Massachusetts.

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