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Shared Tests Draw Concerns

North American organizations involved in the development of the ILSAC GF-6 passenger car engine oil specification expressed concern about European plans to use several engine tests in the upcoming ACEA 2018 Oil Sequences, warning that dual use could stretch testing resources and shorten the lives of oil categories.

The concerns were raised during an October meeting of the API Lubricant Standards Group and in subsequent letters toATC, the Technical Committee of Petroleum Additive Manufacturers in Europe, which helps coordinate the development of ACEA specifications.

Some of the engines used in these tests are out of production, and the inventory of engines and parts held by the labs and parts distributors are the only parts available for these tests, and…additional parts cannot be produced, Ford Motor Co.s Ron Romano, chairman of the International Lubricants Standardization and Advisory Committee, wrote in an Oct. 17 letter to ATC President Ian Welby.

Supporting both programs could quickly deplete the existing inventories and shorten the length of both categories considerably, Romano added. The number of North American tests being considered for ACEA 2018 would represent an unprecedented level of overlap between the two organizations, which generally develop their own tests.

ILSAC GF-6 and ACEA 2018 are on different timelines for coming to market. Automakers are currently aiming for first licensing of GF-6 to begin in 2020, while the new ACEA sequences were scheduled to be launched by the end of this year.

Total Opens Blending Plant in Russia

Totalstarted operations at its new lubricants blending plant in Kaluga, Russia, in October. The plant is operated byTotal Vostok, the companys subsidiary in the country.

The facility can produce 40,000 metric tons of automotive and industrial lubricants per year, with a scale-up option to bring capacity to 70,000 t/y. The French energy company said the $50 million plant will reduce reliance on imports and cut delivery times both domestically and in neighboring markets such as Belarus and Central Asian countries. It is located on a 17.3-acre site in the Vorsino industrial park in the Kaluga region, with direct links to European Russias main road and rail infrastructure.

The new plant will produce the entire range of Total- and Elf-branded products, including Total Quartz and Total Rubia motor oils for passenger and commercial vehicles. It will also produce a full range of industrial lubricants.

Repsol Considers Stake in Blender

SpainsRepsolsigned an agreement to explore acquiring a stake in Singaporean lubricant blenderUnited Oil Co.

Under a memorandum of understanding, Repsol will study the feasibility of purchasing an equity stake in United Oil, a subsidiary of United Global. The memorandum is effective for six months from Oct. 22, with an option to extend for another six months.

A company spokesman said that if Repsol proceeds with a deal, it would align with the companys strategic plan for its lubricants business, which is focused on international expansion from 2017 to 2021. The plan calls for an investment of $1.7 billion for the international expansion of Repsols petrochemicals, service stations, lubricants and trading businesses and targets total sales of 300,000 metric tons of lubricants by 2021.

Saudi Project to Make Base Oils

Saudi Aramcoand chemicals manufacturerSabic chose Yanbu al Bahr, Saudi Arabia, as the site for a large refinery that will include a base oil plant. The crude oil-to-chemicals facility is scheduled to open in 2025.

The companies have publicly discussed the project since November 2016 but had not disclosed the location until their Nov. 1 announcement. Their project is designed to process 400,000 barrels per day of crude oil into 9 million metric tons per year of chemicals.

The companies stated that lubricating base stocks would be among the products made at the facility, but did not disclose the base oil capacity nor the grade of oils to be produced.

Lithium Supplier Conducts IPO

Livent, the former lithium business of chemical companyFMC, raised $340 million in October in its initial public stock offering. Trading of Livent stock opened at $16.25 per share Oct. 11 and hit a high of $16.98 as the company sold 20,000 shares, which amounted to a combined 14 percent stake in Livent.

According to the prospectus for the offering, proceeds were not earmarked for any specific use but went to FMC, which continues to own 86 percent of Livent. FMC said it may sell its shares of Livent stock at some point in the future.

The company, one of the worlds major suppliers of performance lithium compounds, said it will continue charting an aggressive growth plan to capitalize on the proliferation of electric vehicles but added that it also intends to continue supplying the grease industry, which has long been one of the main users of lithium.

Idemitsu, Showa Shell Close to Merging

JapansIdemitsu Kosansealed an agreement Oct. 19 to acquire Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K., setting April 1, 2019, as the effective date for combining the countrys second- and fourth-largest lubricant suppliers.

The merged company will be renamed Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd., and its trade name will be Idemitsu Showa Shell. The new company will be led by Takashi Tsukioka, the current chairman and representative director of Idemitsu Kosan. Vice chairman and representative director, executive officer will be Tsuyoshi Kameoka, current CEO of Showa Shell.

The company plans for its new lubricant business to expand its overseas production bases to enhance its supply capacity to automobile manufacturers in and outside Japan, Idemitsu and Showa Shell stated.

Summit Installs Grease Reactor

Summit Lubricantsinstalled a new grease reactor with capacity of 50,000 pounds at its plant in Batavia, New York, to increase manufacturing capacity and speed and to gain more control over quality.

The $400,000 reactor addition is part of a $1.2 million capital investment program for Summit, which is a subsidiary of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-basedQuaker Chemical Corp.It will be able to manufacture Summits line of lithium, lithium complex, aluminum, aluminum complex, polyurea, calcium sulfonate and bentonite greases.

Quaker has plans to continue to invest in our grease business, including new capabilities for packaging and manufacturing that will enable our plant to grow with longer-term demand, said Mike Tolleson, plant manager for Summit Lubricants.

ACEA 2012 Specs Expire

The ACEA 2012 Engine Oil Sequences expired this month, the Technical Association of the European Lubricants Industry (ATIEL) reminded members in a news release.

Light- and heavy-duty oils promoted as complying with ACEA sequences must meet the 2016 sequences or the upcoming 2018 sequences, which ACEA, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, was working to finish at the time of publication.

It is important for the integrity of the European Engine Lubricants Quality Management System and the ATIEL Code of Practice that all lubricant marketers update their formulations to the new sequences within the required timeframe, said Francois Benard, chairman of ATIELs Industry Liaison Committee.

11 PLC Expands in Lagos

11 PLC, formerly known as Mobil Oil Nigeria, is expanding and modernizing its lubricant blending plant in Lagos after a Nigerian company acquired the Apapa lubricant plant and the Mobil fuels and lubricants businesses in the country fromExxonMobilin April 2017. 11 PLC declined to disclose the cost or scope of the project. The company is ExxonMobils sole authorized distributor and provider of Mobil lubricants in Nigeria.

Vietnam Hikes Green Tax

Vietnam will double its environmental tax for lubricants beginning Jan. 1, according to a resolution passed in September by the countrys National Assembly Standing Committee. The environmental tax for lubricants will increase to $0.10 per liter.

Khanh Ngo, a consultant atIpsos Business Consulting, said that the higher environmental tax will increase the base price of lubricants. Furthermore, the value-added tax on environmental tax, and other taxes and fees, will rise due to this increased tax, making the overall retail price higher.

Emirati Plant Switches to Solar Power

Emirates National Oil Co. announced the conversion of its blending plant in the United Arab Emirates to operate solely on solar energy, making it the first lubricant manufacturing facility in the country to do so.

The company installed more than 300 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of its Dubai Lubricant Processing Plant FZE in Jebel Ali, which covers approximately 300 square meters. The panels will generate more than 160,000 kilowatt hours per year of electricity, Enoc stated, adding that the facility consumed 156,700 kWh/year in 2016.

Briefly Noted

British Petroleum began construction of a new lubricant blending plant in Tianjin, China, in October. At a cost of 1.5 billion yuan (U.S. $214 million), it is BPs single-largest investment in a lubricant plant globally.

Chevron Oronite broke ground on an additive manufacturing plant in Ningbo, China. The facility is scheduled to open in 2021 as a blending and shipping operation, and the company plans a subsequent expansion into component manufacturing.

Wells Lubricating Oil (Tianjin) Co. opened a blending plant in Tianjin, China, in early October. The company said it now has capacity to make 150,000 metric tons of lubricants per year.

Amsterdam-based chemicals company AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals has rebranded as Nouryon.

Shell Oman Marketing Co.signed an agreement to become a pack supplier of lubricants for the countrys National Plastic Factory.

Faces in the News

American Refining Group President and COO Jeannine T. Schoenecker will resign in March 2019 due to her husbands recent ALS diagnosis.

Barbara Kudis of Allegheny Petroleum Products Co. became president of the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association for the 2018-2019 term. She succeeds Dave Croghan of Maxum Petroleum.

Calumet Specialty Products Partners appointed Dan Sheets to its board of directors. Sheets has 39 years of experience in specialty chemicals and was president of Lubrizol Corp. before retiring from the company in 2017.

Jason Galary was named director of research and development at Fairhaven, Massachusetts-based Nye Lubricants.He previously was applied science and tribology manager.

Consulting firm Kline & Co. hired Debbie Powell as a manager of energy practice. Powell has over 20 years of experience in the lubricants industry and previously worked at Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron.

Shrewsbury, England-based Morris Lubricants appointed Andy Morrey as its new operations manager.

Oxea CEO Salim Al Huthaili was elected in October as a new board member of the European Chemical Industry Council.

KPI Bridge Oil promoted Victoria Freeman to chief financial officer. Freeman joined the company in 2009 as an accountant and most recently served as group financial controller.

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