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Axel Buys Royal Manufacturing

Axel Christiernsson will triple its grease production capacity in the United States through its acquisition of Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Royal Manufacturing. Terms of the transaction were not released.

Royal Manufacturing will become a subsidiary of Axel Americas, operating as Axel Royal LLC. The company has facilities in Tulsa; Schertz, Texas; and a base oil terminal in Brownsville, Texas, which was not included in the deal. The companies declined to comment on the terminals future.

The two companies have discussed the possibility of a merger for quite some time, said Tom Schroeder, president of Axel Christiernssons U.S. subsidiary. Axel Americas, he explained, has bigger kettles and is better equipped to handle larger manufacturing jobs. Royal Manufacturing has smaller kettles, which makes it suitable to handle specialty products.

Calumet Acquires Biosynthetic Technologies

Calumet Specialty Products Partners announced in April that it acquiredBiosynthetic Technologies, a startup that converts sustainable plant oils into synthetic base stocks. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Irvine, California-
headquartered Bio­synthetic Technologies patented a technology that converts fatty acids into synthetic esters called estolides, which can be used in industrial lubricants. It operates a demonstration plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with specialty chemical company Albemarle.

Calumet plans to develop and commercialize these renewable esters at its existing esters manufacturing facility in Missouri, the Indianapolis-based company said.

Licensing Begins for SN Plus

The American Petroleum Institute began licensing engine oils with the API SN Plus supplemental passenger car motor oil category this month. Marketers are now permitted to sell products as SN Plus and SN Plus-Resource Conserving bearing APIs donut trademark.

API staff members had proposed pushing back the first-licensing date until mid-June to allow oil suppliers more time to prepare products and get them to market. Automakers pushed back on that proposal, urging the organization to stick to a May 1 date that developers of the classification had targeted. API agreed after seeking input from oil marketing members.

Setback for Sequence IVB

The Sequence IVB valvetrain wear test, the last test needed to be approved for ILSAC GF-6, failed to be accepted into the passenger car engine oil specification due to concerns from automotive industry groups that it does not adequately measure oils ability to prevent engine wear.

The Auto/Oil Advisory Panel, which jointly represents automakers that comprise the International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee, and theAmerican Petroleum Institute, which represents oil marketers, reviewed the ballot for the Sequence IVB on April 5. Members from the lubricants side expressed concerns about the tests readiness, including its capability to discriminate between reference oils and its capacity to yield consistent results.

Some panel members also worried that the Sequence IVB would prevent ILSAC GF-6 from ensuring adequate low-temperature wear protection in older engines that run on earlier generation oils, since it does not measure wear in the same way as the test its supposed to replace, the Sequence IVA. The outcome of the ballot means the Sequence IVB test still needs more work before a timeline can be finalized for the much-delayed engine oil standard.

Petrobras Expansion Moves Forward

Petrobras resumed the expansion of its blending plant in Duque de Caxias, Brazil, in April, which will make it one of the worlds five largest lube blending facilities when the work is completed in 2020.

The company filed an advisory statement on Brazils B3 stock exchange saying that it had restarted the project to expand the 290,000-metric-tons-per-year plant in the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area, which had been stalled since 2012. The expansion is designed to increase capacity to 450,000 t/y. Brazils largest lube supplier intends to use that capacity to boost sales both locally and abroad.

MWF Guidance Launched in UK

TheUnited Kingdom Lubricants Asso­ciationMetalworking Fluid Product Stewardship Group and the countrys Health and Safety Executive introduced the Good Practice Guidance for Managing Metalworking Fluids in April, which establishes good practices for both supervisors and operators to reduce work-related respiratory and skin diseases when exposed to water based metalworking fluids.

Kevin Duncan, chairman of the stewardship group, said that the new guidance will give a more in-depth understanding of what to do with fluids from the initial make of the product right through to disposal, covering the full lifecycle of the fluids and how to work safely with them.

The new guidance also came about as a result of a push by fluid suppliers and the HSE, knowing that changes to legislation have been ongoing for a number of years, with certain chemicals becoming less usable and restrictions becoming tighter.

Fuchs to Open Blend Plant

Fuchs Petrolub SEplans to start operation of its $44.3 million lubricants blending plant in Wujiang, a Suzhou district in Chinas Jiangsu province, in 2019, the German company said in its 2017 annual report.

First announced in 2016, the plant will replace the manufacturers existing smaller facility in Shanghai. Qingping Zhu, managing director of Fuchs Lubricants China, said that nominal production capacity will be around 100,000 metric tons per year in the plants first phase. The facility will have eight highly automated filling lines, 31 blenders and 55 tanks with capacity to hold between 18 and 450 tons of lubricants.

STLE Honors Ted Selby

Ted Selby, a lubricant testing pioneer whose inventions are used worldwide to unlock the secrets of oil rheology, oxidation, deposits and more, this month will receive STLEs highest technical honor, the International Award. The accolade will come during the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers annual meeting, which expects to draw some 1,600 delegates to Minneapolis, May 20-24.

Selby began researching fuels and lubricants in 1952, first at General Motors and then at Dow Chemical. Armed with a masters in physical chemistry from Wayne State University in Detroit, in 1969 he founded the Savant Group of companies in Midland, Michigan, and expanded it to include test developer Savant Inc., bench test manufacturer Tannas Co., and the Institute of Materials, which monitors the quality of engine oils worldwide.

Numerous groundbreaking test concepts and methods, including several ASTM standards that are integral to engine oil specifications, owe their existence to Selby, who is Savants vice president, technical development. Among his far-reaching inventions are the Tapered Bearing Simulator; the Thermo-oxidation Engine Oil Simulation Test; the Scanning Brookfield viscometer technique; the Phosphorus Emissions Index and the Selby-Noack oil volatility apparatus.

Briefly Noted

Omaha, Nebraska-based Warren Distribution opened a new blending plant in Houston with initial capacity of around 27,000 metric tons per year that can be scaled up to 68,000 t/y of automotive, commercial and industrial lubricants. The company now has combined blending capacity of over 340,000 t/y with its facilities in Iowa, West Virginia and Alabama.

Fort Washington, Pennsylvania-based PetroChoice acquired the lubricant business of Bensalem, Pennsylvania-based Prolube Inc., which distributes in Northern Philadelphia, specializing in the automotive market.

Malaysian oil company Petronas opened a new $60 million global research and technology center in Turin, Italy, in March.

South Africas Competition Tribunal approved stated-owned Chinese energy giant Sinopecs deal to acquire a 75 percent stake in Chevron South Africa. Conditions included a $499 million investment in the Western Cape refinery over the next five years, and the promise of exporting Chevron S.A. products to China.

Italmatch Chemicals acquired Changzhou, China-based Jiayou Chemical. The purchase comes on the heels of Italmatchs acquisitions of Elco Corp. and Compass in the United States and Sudamfos in Brazil.

Lubricant provider RelaDyne acquired Northern Louisiana regional lubricants distributor T.A. Roberts Oil Co.

Israel Chemicals Ltd. sold its fire safety and oil additives businesses to SK Capital, a New York City-based private investment firm, for $1 billion. The divestment does not affect the company’s phosphate ester business, including its Fyrquel brand fire resistant fluids and Syn-O-Ad lubricant additives.

GP Global (formerly Gulf Petrochem Group) acquired United Arab Emirates-based Mag Lube, which operates a blending plant that manufactures automotive, industrial and marine lubricants.

Faces in the News

Sea-Land Chemical Co. made several changes to its executive and senior management teams. Craig Lundell is now senior vice president of commercial operations for the United States and Europe; Christy Henley is vice president of sales; and Jack McKenna, who is national account manager and vice president of business development, will also assume the responsibilities of vice president of Sea-Land Chemical Canada. See www.LubesnGreases.com/resources/people-news for more.

Hydrodec CEO Chris Ellis resigned in April; Lord Moynihan, chairman of the rerefiner, was named interim CEO and executive chairman.

Victor Franco Paredes is the new CEO of Lubricantes de Americas (Lubral). He joined the company in 2015 as director of sales and operations.

Lubrizol promoted J. Brian Pitts to corporate vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer. He succeeds Brian Valentine, who will leave the company later this year.

Sean Lalonde was promoted to director, global base oil and wax, at HollyFrontier. He most recently served as manager of base oil, white oil and automotive original equipment manufacturer business in the Americas.

Lubrication Specialties Inc. hired Brian Merz as director of national account sales. Previously, he served as senior key account manager for Idemitsu Lubricants America and has held similar roles at Shell Oil Products and Pennzoil-Quaker State Co.

Puma Lubricants named Charles Du Bois global lubricants technology manager. He previously worked in lubricants and global business development roles at Tribol, Castrol and Chemserve.

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