Market Topics



Industry Weighs Timeline for GF-6

The countdown has begun for first licensing of the ILSAC GF-6 passenger car motor oil category after the Sequence IVB wear test was accepted into the much-delayed standard in May.

Based on protocol, the specification should have a 27-month wait period before it comes to market, which would put the first licensing date in late September or early October 2020. Automakers, however, have urged that the introduction be moved up to April of that year.

Three main hurdles that must still be cleared on the way to first licensing are the 12-month technical demonstration period, used to develop and test additive systems to meet the new category requirements, followed by a three-month period for review of engine test data so that test limits may be set, and finally a year-long waiting period after limit setting when oil marketers develop products, prepare labels and promotional literature and resolve other potential issues.

Greif Opens IBC Plant

Greifpartnered with industrial packager Tholu B.V. to open a new intermediate bulk container factory in Ede, the Netherlands, to make food grade lubricant packaging. The company will manufacture its GCube branded IBCs from the new plant to distribute in the Benelux region, which includes Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Delaware, Ohio-based Greif did not comment on total capacity.

Greif also commissioned a steel drum plant at a brownfield site in Vorsino industrial park, Kaluga Region, in June, the companys seventh plant in Russia. The production facility covers 6,000 square meters, and the plant has an automated production line with capacity of 2 million drums per year.

HollyFrontier Buys Red Giant Oil

HollyFrontier Corp.
entered into an agreement to buyRed Giant Oil Co. Officials for the Council Bluffs, Iowa-based locomotive engine oils supplier said it will operate as a separate division within HollyFrontiers lubricant business and that it expects the business to continue growing.

Weve wanted to make inroads into the Eastern United States, and we expect that being part of HollyFrontier will allow us to do that and to expand into Canada as well, said Red Giant Oil President Sherryl Bills-Taylor. Red Giant is the sole supplier of locomotive engine oils to BNSF Railway and Kansas City Southern, as well as a major supplier to Union Pacific.

The sale was precipitated by Bills-Taylors decision to retire, and she said her company had looked for a buyer since late last year. The companies did not disclose the price of the deal, which is expected to be completed during the third quarter.

ExxonMobil Expands Again in Singapore

ExxonMobil is planning a multibillion dollar expansion at its Jurong, Singapore, refining complex, which will increase output of API Group II base stocks. The oil major did not disclose the size of the newly announced base oil expansion.

This project would be in addition to the expansion that was started at the same location in 2017 and is scheduled to be commissioned in early 2019. ExxonMobil will make a final investment decision next year on the newly announced project, and startup is anticipated in 2023.

Officials added that the new base stock facility will introduce a high-viscosity Group II base stock with similar characteristics to bright stock, expanding the Group II slate already being offered in Singapore. After the expansion, the plant will also produce a 120 viscosity cut, in addition to the 50 viscosity and 110 viscosity oils currently being manufactured at the Jurong site.

Private Equity Firm Grabs Italmatch

Bain Capital Private Equitywill buylubricant additive supplier Italmatch Chemicals, which has been on its own acquisition streak.

Bain is buying Italmatch from Ardian, another private equity firm that has owned the Genoa, Italy-based company for four years. Terms were not disclosed. Bain officials suggested that they plan to provide Italmatch with funds to continue its shopping spree.

Leveraging our experience in the chemicals sector and our global presence, we look forward to supporting [Italmatch founder and CEO] Sergio Iorio and the rest of the management team to continue growing the company, both organically and through an ambitious plan of strategic acquisitions, said Bain Managing Director Ivano Sessa.

Kiwi Lube Suppliers Talk Rubbish

New Zealands biggest lubricant brands, including Z Energy, Castrol, Aegis Oil and Valvoline, have joined forces to work out how to collect and repurpose their lubricant packaging through a voluntary, industry-led scheme for stewardship of waste lubricant containers.

The scheme aims to close the loop on lubricant packaging and contribute to the development of a so-called circular economy in New Zealand. The country, dependent on imports rather than local production, recognizes its need to repurpose waste and packaging for economic and environmental benefits.

The goals set so far include a launch date in mid-2019, choosing a brand name for the scheme and securing government funding. The group will find out in September if its application for a grant from the New Zealand governments Environmental Protection Authority has been approved.

China Drafts HDEO Specifications

A group of major Chinese vehicle makers and energy giants are working on the nations first lubricant specification for diesel truck engines.

Called the Chinese Lub­ricant Specification Develop­ment Alliance, the group is led by Chinas gasoline engine academy. Members include state-ownedChina National Petroleum Corp.andSinopec, and five major Chinese diesel truck makers, Weichai Power, FAW Group, JAC Motor, Dongfeng Motor and Foton Cummins.

The alliance aims to introduce Chinese specifications for diesel engine oil bench testing in 2019, and for diesel engine oils in 2020, said Yang Guofeng, deputy director at CNPC Lanzhou Lubricating Oil R&D Institute. Along with the China standard, the alliance is working to establish an independent laboratory that can monitor tests and certify oils that pass them.

Briefly Noted

Fuchs Petrolub SE
agreed to buy a 65 percent stake of Chilean lubricant distributor Comercial Pacific Ltda. and form a joint venture, Fuchs Lubricants SpA, that aims to expand its sales in the South American country.

Chinas state-owned Shanxi Luan Mining Group opened a base oil plant in Shanxi province with capacity to make 350,000 metric tons per year of coal-to-liquids base stocks.

The proposed merger of Japanese refiners Idemitsu Kosan and Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. is back on again, scheduled this time for April 1, 2019, the companies announced in July.

Chevron Oronitemade its final investment decision to build a wholly owned additive manufacturing plant in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, with commercial production anticipated to begin in 2021.

Serbian lube marketer Fam recently opened a corrosion inhibitor and degreaser production unit with capacity of 2,500 metric tons per year at its blending facility in Krusevac, Serbia.

Japans Sanyo Chemical is building an 11,000-metric-ton-per-year viscosity index improver plant in South Korea, expected to be operational by the end of 2019.

Faces in the News

Doug Church, president and CEO of Elco Corp. (now part of Italmatch Chemicals), retired from the company after 17 years. Dave Millin replaced him as CEO, in addition to being named executive vice president of Detrex Corp. Danny McCaul became president of Elco Corp. and president and CEO of Detrex Corp. He is the CEO of both Italmatch USA and Compass Chemicals, units of Italmatch, both in Smyrna, Georgia.

Middleborough, Massachusetts-based measurement and control instrumentation manufacturer Ametek Brookfield appointed Vicki Case global marketing director.

Pilot Chemical Co. Vice President of Research and Development Rick Shook retired from his position at the Cincinnati, Ohio-based company after nearly 40 years. He will remain involved with Pilot Chemical as a consultant.

Functional Products Inc. promoted Erik Willett to technical director, where he will be responsible for developing and expanding Functionals line of additives.


The Tribofilm Measure­ments item in the Product News section of the July issue should have said that the ETM from PCS Instruments can apply loads between 150 and 1,650 Newtons.

Roy Fewkes

Consultant Roy Fewkes, a recognized driveline lubricant and lubrication expert with over 40 years of industry experience, died May 11 at age 69.

Born in Derby, United Kingdom, he obtained an M.B.A. from Loughborough University. Fewkes involvement in the automotive industry began when he developed and built motor racing engines during the 1970s. Those motor racing activities later resulted in his appointment by the Royal Automobile Club Motor Sports Association as a senior motor racing official responsible for safety and technical compliance.

Fewkes industry background also saw him managing business units at General Motors and Lubrizol. At GM, he conceived and implemented the companys Dexron licensing and approvals program for automatic transmission fluids, eventually turning the Dexron trademark into a brand covering other products that he was instrumental in developing, including gear oils, dual clutch transmission fluids and hydraulic fluids.

After his retirement from GM, he became a consultant to original equipment manufacturers and oil and additive companies. Fewkes also authored and co-authored a number of published articles and technical papers related to lubricants, lubricant development, lubricant testing, and other lubricant related issues, and his name is on a number of patents regarding transmission fluids and tests.

He is survived by his wife, Emma, and two children, William and Sarah.

Related Topics

Market Topics