Market Topics



Group II Ships from Yanbu

Luberef announced in February that it completed a long-awaited upgrade and expansion of its base oil plant in Yanbual Bahr, Saudi Arabia, and that API Group II stocks are being shipped from the facility.

The plant, a 70-30 joint venture between state-owned Saudi Aramco and Saudi firm Jadwa Investment Co., is the first in the Middle East to make large amounts of Group II. The announcement did not list production numbers, but Luberef previously indicated the plant would have capacity to make 708,000 metric tons per year of Group II. The oils are being marketed under the AramcoPrima brand.

The expansion at Yanbu is also designed to increase the plants capacity to make bright stock. Luberef said that part of the project is scheduled to be completed during the second quarter. Before the project, Yanbu had capacity to make 282,000 t/y of Group I. When the work is finished, the plants Group I capacity will be 175,000 t/y.

Russian PAO Plant Restarts

Tatneft restarted its polyalphaolefin production after an eight-year hiatus due to lack of feedstock supply and sanctions imposed by the international community on several Russian oil majors.

The Tatarstan, Russia-based company said the 9,600-tons-per-year base oil plant in Nizhnekamsk-Russias only PAO facility-is up and running, with the first commercial batches of 2 centiStoke, 4 cSt, 6 cSt and 12 cSt material produced in February. The plant is also able to produce a 20 cSt cut thanks to process improvements aided by technology developed by the Moscow-based Institute of Problems of Chemical Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The plant is owned by Tatneft-Nizhnekamsk­neftekhim Oil, a 75-25 joint venture between the oil major and chemicals company Nizhnekamsk­neftekhim.

SK Returns to Stock Offer

The off-and-on plan for an initial public offering for SK Lubricants is on once again. In a Feb. 26 filing with the Korean Stock Exchange, parent company SK Innovation requested fast-track review of its proposal to conduct the offering. If granted, it would occur in May.

SK Lubricants is the worlds leading supplier of API Group III base stocks.

The filing did not say how much money SK Innovation hopes to raise. Since the start of the year, local news sources have published numerous articles about a probable offering, pegging the amount of proceeds that the company hopes to raise between $925 million and $1.95 billion.

SK Innovation previously considered IPOs for SK Lubricants in 2012 and 2015 but tabled the idea both times after concluding the investment climate was not ripe.

Chemlube Distributes for Adnoc

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. signed an exclusive agreement for Chemlube S.A. to distribute its API Group III base oils in Europe.

Adnoc has Group III production capacity of 500,000 metric tons per year, as well as 100,000 tons of Group II base oils, at its plant in Ruwais, United Arab Emirates. The companies expect about 10 percent of the Group III output to be sold by Chemlube.

Synthetic passenger car engine oils formulated with AdBase base stocks have received approvals for meeting several important standards in the U.S., including API SN, GM Dexos 1 and ILSAC GF-5, Adnoc said in a statement. The company is seeking original equipment manufacturer and ACEA approvals in Europe.

Chemlube S.A. is a sister company of Chemlube International LLC, which claims to be the worlds largest independent trader of Group III oil. The company is also an agent for Bapco, Bahrains national oil company.

Fuchs Expands in Australia

Fresh from its official opening of a lubricants blending plant near Sydney, Fuchs Lubricants Australasia said it is also expanding its grease production plant in Melbourne to meet growing demand in key mining, agricultural and commercial transport markets down under.

The upgrade should be complete in July or August, Managing Director Wayne Hoiles told LubesnGreases. He said it was the second upgrade in three years of the companys sole Australia-based grease plant.

The Beresfield plant will serve clients and sites in New South Wales and Queensland states, and replaces an outdated facility at nearby Wickham. The groups Melbourne facilities, which include engine and gear oil production and warehouse operations, serve the rest of Australia and New Zealand.

Sasol Completes Wax Expansion

Sasol completed an expansion of its wax plant in Sasolburg, South Africa, in February, the second phase of a $1.1 billion project that enlarges one of the worlds largest sources of Fischer-Tropsch wax.

Sasol did not comment on the size of the plant or the expansion. Analysts have previously estimated that both phases of the project would increase the plants capacity to make hard waxes by 100,000 to 130,000 metric tons per year, while significantly increasing capacity for medium waxes and liquid paraffins.

The Sasol Fischer-Tropsch wax expansion project is not only important for South Africa and for the region, but also for the global wax industry due to declining supplies of traditional crude-derived paraffin waxes over the last two decades, said Amy Claxton, CEO of My Energy Consulting and Training. At the time of theproject announcementin 2015, there were only two major Fischer-Tropsch wax producers in the world: Sasol in South Africa and Shell in Malaysia.

Asian Lube Association Launched

A new industry association, the Asian Lubricant Manufacturers Union, held the inaugural meeting of its general membership in early March. The Singapore-based association currently has 18 members from 12 companies, all but one of which are headquartered in Asia or Oceania.

Officials said the groups goals include gaining recognition by Asian governments as the leading authority of the regions lubricants industry to provide input on policies, forming relationships with other industry groups such as the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers and the Union of the European Lubricants Industry, as well as helping to disseminate technical expertise and information about best practices, curb counterfeiting and promote awareness among industries that use lubricants.

The group said membership will primarily consist of companies from South, East and Southeast Asia as well as Oceania, but that it will also accept affiliate members from outside the region. The association charges annual membership fees between $1,500 to $3,000 depending on the companys size and nature of its business.

India, the worlds third-largest finished lubricants market, is also considering forming a nationwide trade group to represent the industry. Attendees representing several companies, including Shell Global Lubricants, Hindustan Petroleum Corp.,GP Petroleumsand Brenntag Ingredients (India), endorsed the idea from consultant Shailendra Gokhale of Rosefield DAA International Consultancy at the All India Base Oil, Lubricant and Wax Conference held in Mumbai in early February.

Italmatch Forms Additives Unit

Italmatch Chemicals Group announced last week that it has formed a lubricant additives business unit in the wake of Decembers acquisition ofElco Corp.and parent company Detrex. Officials said the new unit, named Lubricant Performance Additives, will aim to expand its product offering and geographic reach.

Elco has always been known for being a producer of sulfurized extreme pressure additives, whereas Italmatch is certainly one of the leading producers of phosphorus derivatives, said Dave Millin, global vice president of sales and marketing for the new unit. Whatever youre doing in the lubricants sector, you need sulfur and phosphorus, particularly in metalworking.

Lubricant Performance Additives now has two testing facilities, one in Cleveland, the other in Arese, Italy, near Milan. Both locations conduct technology and application testing, and Millin said they will work to develop new products in the future. For the time being, the new unit will focus on further developing existing products.

Moresco Builds Plant in India

Japans Moresco Corp. started construction of a lubricant blending plant in India in February, with completion expected early next year.

The $9 million plant in the city of Ahmedabad will make lubricants and other products used in motorcycle and automotive manufacturing, including die casting mold release lubricants, lubricants for hot forging, metal cutting fluids and hot melt adhesives. The plants total annual capacity for lubricants and hot melt adhesives will be 10,000 tons. Currently, the company imports its products from Thailand for customers in the country and in January last year set up a subsidiary, Moresco India.

Equity Firm Buys Stake in ZXP

A Houston private equity firm took an undisclosed stake in contract lubricant blender and packagerZXP Technologies Ltd.

The company was renamed ZXP Technologies LLC, which is co-owned by Milton Street Capital LLC and members of the ZXP management team. The parties did not disclose the monetary value of Milton Streets investment nor the sizes of stakes held by the various parties

Headquartered in Houston, ZXP Technologies Ltd. provides contract packaging, blending and distribution services for premium, mineral and synthetic lubricants, agricultural chemical and bulk powder products, among others. The companyexpanded its plant in Texasin 2011, adding 20 million to 25 million gallons of additional capacity.

STLE Philadelphia Announces 2018 Education Course

The Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers Philadelphia Section will hold its second annual George Arbocus Education Course on Wednesday, May 2, at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum near the Philadelphia International Airport.

The course will focus on how the automotive industry is using lubricants to improve fuel efficiency, a pertinent issue as regulations in the United States and the European Union are moving the automotive industry to strive for greater fuel economy and lower emissions. Presentations will be made by speakers from Southwest Research Institute, General Motors, Lubrizol, Evonik Oil Additives USA, Driven Racing Oil and Don Schumacher Racing.

To register for the meeting, visit

Briefly Noted

PT Pertamina subsidiary Pertamina Lubricants opened its first representative office in Sydney, Australia, marking the companys entrance into the country.

German chemicals distributor Brenntag signed on to distribute Helsinki-based Nestes Nexbase API Group III base oils in Greater China starting April 1.

Pack Logix Inc. acquired the Spectrum Lubricants Corp. packaging plant in Waukesha, Wisconsin, from Phillips 66. Through this deal Pack Logix also acquired the contract packing and fulfillment business of Pax Holdings LLC, a Milwaukee-based packaging firm and investor in Spectrum.

The Georgia Department of Agricultures Fuel & Measures Division issued a stop sale order on tractor hydraulic fluid products labeled, claimed or implied as meeting the THF 303 specification. Georgia is the second state to issue a stop sale order on the discontinued specification, the first being Missouri.

Illinois-based Univar Inc. will expand its relationship with Dow Chemical Co. to include exclusive North American distribution rights for Ucon fluids and lubricants.

Moove, the lubricant distribution business of Brazil-based Cosan, will provide motor oils for Vulcos chain of tire and automotive service workshops in Portugal, under an agreement that went into effect Feb. 1.

American automotive company ACDelco debuted its lubricants products in the Middle East. The oils are formulated to address the harsh weather conditions and heavy-duty commercial use in the region.

Faces in the News

Pilot Chemical Co.namedGlynn Goertzenvice president of corporate development. Goertzen also serves as president of Pilots subsidiary, Liquid Minerals Group.

David Purvisis Metalube UKs new global product manager. He will oversee the companys international business for its high-performance protection grease for overhead line conductors as well as wire rope products.

Heike van de Kerkhofwas named head ofCastrols lubricants business in Europe and Africa. She most recently worked at theChemours Co.(spun off from DuPonts performance chemicals businesses), where she was v.p., global sales of Titanium Technologies and president of Chemours international operations.

Fuchs LubricantshiredAlex Holmesas head of industrial product management. He previously held a similar role at Lubrizol.

MonsonhiredTony Yerkesas account manager for its lubricants and metalworking fluids businesses in Michigan and Ohio. Prior to joining Monson, Yerkes provided technical service and product management for metalworking fluids and fuels atAfton Chemical.

Anthony Kruczekwas appointed senior product manager at Blaster Corp. He previously held product management roles at JohnDow Industries, Accel Performance Group andPolyOne.

Lake St. Louis, Missouri-based Bunton Industrial Solutions addedBilly Marquartto its sales team. He will specialize in metalworking fluid applications for the regional original equipment manufacturer market.


In the March 2018 story Biobased Lubes Outgrow the Rest, Chevron was incorrectly listed as one of the leading manufacturers of polyalphaolefins. The companys subsidiary, Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., manufactures these base stocks.

Harvey Golubock

Harvey Lewis Golubock, who worked at Witco Corp. for 28 years and then became president and COO of American Refining Group for 14 years, died Feb. 24 in New York City. He was 75.

Holding a chemical engineering degree from City College of New York and an MBA from Rutgers University, Golubocks career at Witco spanned from 1969 to 1997. In that time, his roles included planning analyst, assistant to the president, assistant to the chairman, vice president and general manager, vice president of corporate communications, vice president, supply and distribution, and finally group vice president for lubricants.

Among Witcos assets that he oversaw was Kendall Refining in Bradford, Pennsylvania, the worlds oldest continuously operating crude refinery and the birthplace of Kendall motor oil. However, when Witco sold off its lubricant assets in 1996 (including the coveted Kendall brand), no one wanted the refinery. It at last was sold in 1997 to private investor Harry Halloran-who immediately recruited Golubock to run it.

Golubock would later recall that both the refinery and the city of Bradford were demoralized by the loss of the Kendall name, and many predicted ARG would fold within six months. Instead, he and the new owners revitalized the base oil business and launched a line of finished lubricants under the new BradPenn name. ARG also made Gulf brand lubricants under license for the Northeast U.S., and became a key supplier of railroad engine oils after acquiring that business line from Valvoline.

As the company returned to profitability, Golubock threw himself into health and educational causes in Bradford. He chaired Beacon Light Behavioral Health, which serves mentally and emotionally challenged individuals; co-chaired the Bradford Area Alliance for economic development; and served on the boards of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford (which named a wing of its science building in his honor), the Bradford Hospital Foundation and the Penn Brad Museum of petroleum history.

After retiring in 2011, he resided in Suffern, New York. His wife Barbara survives him, along with daughters Janis and Rhona, and other family.

Luther Jones of Sonneborn Inc. (another ex-Witco unit) had known Golubock since 1975 and worked closely with him at times. Though he didnt wear it ostentatiously, Harvey was a deeply faithful man, which guided his life, he said. Harvey was a fine, moral, fair and accomplished person who had a positive impact on those he worked with. This is especially obvious with his loving family and with the City of Bradford and the ARG refinery there, where Harveys vision, planning, hard work, execution and dedication has led to the successful enterprise we see there today.

Related Topics

Market Topics