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Ford Makes Headway on Diesel Test

Ford has progressed in developing a shorter test for valvetrain wear in its 6.7-liter heavy-duty diesel engines and expects to incorporate it into the companys WSS-M2C171-F1 engine oil specification by mid-year.

Fords Ron Romano told the Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Oil Classification Panel meeting in Houston in December that the 6.7L test made improvement in discriminating between passing and failing reference oils. The test is a shorter version of the 600-hour Ford 6.7L Valvetrain Wear Test, and is meant to save time and money for oil marketers.

Romano said the manufacturer intends for the procedure to eventually become an ASTM International-approved test and suggested that this could lead to its inclusion in the API CK-4 HDEO specification as a supplemental category (API CK-4 Plus), which he said the OEM may request at some point in the future.

It is too early to begin work on a CK-4 supplement, and Ford will wait for more progress of the new test in other labs, Romano added. Until then, the Ford OEM specification will continue to supersede the industry spec for products labeled API CK-4.

Last year, Ford declined to recommend CK-4 and its companion fuel economy oil sequence, API FA-4, stating it would void warranties on engines because of concerns that CK-4 oils can lead to accelerated wear.

Imperial Says Goodbye to Group I

Imperial Oilwill discontinue production of API Group I base oils, waxes and finished lubricants at its refinery in Strathcona, Alberta, Canada. The base oil plant has capacity to make 125,000 metric tons per year of Group I base oils and is the only source of Group I in the country.

Imperial did not respond to requests for comment. The Calgary, Alberta-based company is in negotiations with Unifor, Canadas largest private sector union, which represents people employed at the refinery, where roughly 450 employees currently work. The union declined to discuss plans for the base oil and blending plants, citing the sensitive nature of the negotiations.

Higher Fees for Engine Oil Licensing

Fees for theAmerican Petroleum Insti­tutesEngine Oil Licensing and Certification System increased Dec. 1 to offset the costs of APIs consumer education campaign and implementation of new standards under consideration, such as API SN Plus, ILSAC GF-6 and API SP.

Under the revised EOLCS fee structure, the license application and license renewal fees each rose from $4,000 to $4,500. A fee that renewing companies pay based on oil sales volume remains the same, at $0.07 per gallon.

The fees will also increase the number of collected engine oil samples tested through the API Aftermarket Audit Program, said Kevin Ferrick, senior manager of APIs EOLCS.

Licenses issued at this time will be valid through March 31. With this license, companies have the right to use API quality marks, including the API Service Category donut and the API Certification starburst, on oil packages and promotional materials and in media.

Gulf Opens Chennai Lube Plant

Gulf Oil Lubricants Indiaopened its new blending plant in Chennai, which has capacity to make 50,000 metric tons of lubricants per year. The lubricant maker started commercial production on Dec. 14 in Ennore, a coastal neighborhood of Chennai, in southern India. Gulf Oil invested around $28 million in the plant, according to a regulatory filing.

Gulf Oil expects its new location to help save on freight costs. To date, the Mumbai-based firm had supplied all its customers across the country from its 90,000 t/y blending plant in Silvassa, in western India. The company first discussed plans to build a second blending plant in 2014, but the projects original schedule hit snags because of delays obtaining clearances from local authorities.

Coolants Plus Acquires Scot

Coolants Plus, which markets Starfire-brand lubricants, purchased Northampton, Pennsylvania-basedScot Lubricants, giving the company its first blending and packaging facility. Financial details were not disclosed. The business has been renamed PennStar.

Scot Lubricants 250,000-square-foot plant houses 750,000 gallons of tank storage and a testing lab. It is Coolant Plus third United States location; it also owns a 35,000-square-foot warehouse in Jacksonville, Tennessee, which operates as Panther Petroleum, and a 125,000-square-foot warehouse in Hamilton, Ohio.

Coolants Plus will use the site to increase production of Starfire branded lubricants and to gain greater control over quality assurance testing. Previously, the company used toll blenders to manufacture Starfire products.

Romanian Rerefinery Closer to Completion

Green Oil and Lubes, part of a United Arab Emirates-based group of companies, obtained a nearly $39 million loan to support completion of its API Group II base oil rerefinery in Oltenita, Romania. The $56 million project includes construction of a base oil rerefinery that can process up to 72,000 tons of waste oil per year and the creation of a network for collection of waste oils operated by subsidiary Better Environment and Eco System.

The facility will use vacuum distillate technology and produce Group II base oils, which will comprise over 80 percent of the total output. The company expects plant commissioning to occur in the first half of 2019.

Chinese Firm to Recycle Motor Oils

Hongda Petrochemical invested about $30.2 million in three facilities to produce automotive lubricants using recycled waste oils. The investment includes a unit to process 25,000 tons per year of used mineral oils, a facility to rerefine 30,000 t/y of oily waste deposits, and a 45,000 t/y blending plant. The Zhanjiang, Guangdong province-based private chemical company started production at the first facility in late January. Local government approval to start the construction of the second unit is still pending evaluation of environmental impacts.

Brenntag Claims Raj Petro

German chemicals distributor Brenntag AG signed an agreement to acquire Indias Raj Petro Specialties in two phases. Brenntag will first acquire a 65 percent stake of the lubricants and process oils supplier in April, and the remaining 35 percent in 2022, unless it defers the deal for another year or two. The two firms will operate Raj as a joint venture in the interim.

Raj Petro has facilities close to major ports in west and southeast India, giving Brenntag the potential to expand to other countries in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, said Brenntag Asia Pacific CEO Henri Nejade.

Quaker Buys Out India JV

Quaker Chemical Corp. became the sole owner of Quaker Chemical India after acquiring the remaining 45 percent stake from its former joint venture partner, Asianol Lubricants.

The 20-year-old j.v. had locations throughout India to serve the metalworking and steel industries. The metalworking fluids heavyweight said the Indian market has strong growth opportunities for the companys product range and the acquisition allows us to simplify our overall corporate structure and improve our organizational efficiencies, said Quaker CEO Michael Barry. Quaker is building a plant in Dahej, north of Mumbai, which will be completed in 2018.

Korea Intensifies Inspection Process

The South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy began inspecting all lubricants traded in the country for quality control and to prevent the sale of substandard or fake lubes. A previous regulation dictated that authorities inspect products formulated with at least 70 percent mineral oil, but a recent act expanded the provision to cover all lube products, including synthetics.

Importers and exporters of lubricant products will have to report their businesses to the Korea Petroleum Quality & Distribution Authority (K-Petro), the agency conducting quality inspections on all applicable petroleum products in the country. The South Korean customs authority will also report to K-Petro any suspicious imports of lube base oil that could potentially be used to make fake gasoline or diesel products. Any lubricants that have undergone the inspection and audit process to successfully obtain a Korean Industrial Standards (KS) certification will not have to undergo the secondary government inspection process.

Briefly Noted

Ineos Oligomers made its final investment decision in December to build a 120,000 metric-tons-per-year low-viscosity polyalphaolefin plant at its Chocolate Bayou, Texas, refinery. Scheduled for start-up in third quarter 2019, the project will make Ineos by far the worlds leading PAO producer, with total capacity of 350,000 t/y.

BASF and Sinopec plan to double capacity of neopentyl glycol, a component of polyester resins for synthetic lubricants, to 80,000 metric tons per year by the end of 2020 at their joint venture petrochemical complex in Nanjing, China.

Fuchs Petrolub acquired Romanian lubricant distributor Lub Asyst in December. The combined operations will be integrated in a newly established local subsidiary, Fuchs Romania.

Ontario, Canada-based McDougall Energy acquired the assets of Davis Fuels, also a family-owned fuel and lubricant distributor in Ontario, which will continue under its name as a division of McDougall.

ATRP Solutions, a subsidiary of Pilot Chemical Co., is now Pilot Polymer Technologies Inc. Pilot Chemical acquired Pittsburgh-based ATRP Solutions in July 2017 to expand its footprint in the oil field chemicals, lubricant additives and paints and coatings markets.

Shanxi Luan Taihang Lubricant Co. recently signed a deal to bolster its supply of lubes and greases for geared motors to manufacturing behemoth Siemens China operations.

Chugoku Kogyo Co. will distribute Grundy Center, Iowa-based Environmental Lubricants Manufacturings biobased greases and lubricants in Japan.

International testing and certification agency Bureau Veritas S.A. acquired a majority share of Lubrication Management SL, which includes a laboratory in Bilbao, Spain, that will become the firms European hub for oil condition monitoring.

Faces in the News

Tim Brown, CEO of American Refining Group, stepped down from his role in January. He was appointed CEO in 2015 after serving as executive vice president, v.p. of sales and marketing and director of refinery sales. ARG owner Harry Halloran, Jr., replaces him.

MidContinental Chemical Company made several personnel changes. Technical Director Phil Korosec retired after 12 years at the company. Bernard Roell, who most recently served as v.p. of research and development at RSC Bio Solutions, replaces him. District Sales Manager for the Western United States Ray Sparling also retired after 10 years at MCC. He was succeeded by Jeff Davidson, who was previously area sales manager. The company also appointed Charlie Schulz district sales manager for the Southern U.S.

ATIEL, the Technical Association of the European Lubricants Industry, named Brussels-based transportation industry expert Marco Digioia president. He replaces Peter Tjan, who retired from the organization in December.

Dave Neuberger was appointed CEO of Angus Chemical Co., succeeding Mark Henning. He most recently served as group v.p. of Ashland Inc.s pharmaceutical, agriculture and nutrition specialties business.

Carl Bechem announced that John Steigerwald, president of the German companys subsidiary in the United States, Bechem Lubrication Technology, retired in December after over 18 years with the manufacturer. Heike Hundertmark, managing director of Carl Bechem Mexico, took over Steigerwalds role.

Kristy Babb now serves as executive director of the Automotive Oil Change Association. Babb is also the principal and executive v.p. of FSB Core Strategies, which contracted with AOCA for management services in January.

John Mainwaringjoined Metalube UK as senior development scientist. He previously worked at Millers Oils in Huddersfield and Ironsides Lubricants in Stockport, both located in the United Kingdom.

VP Racing Fuels named Tiffany Boone business development representative for the companys retail consumer products.

Nexeo SolutionsappointedMichael C. Millertechnical manager of metalworking fluids and lubricants at its laboratory facility in Houston.

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