Market Topics



HollyFrontier to Acquire Sonneborn

HollyFrontier will acquire specialty hydrocarbon chemicals maker Sonneborn from private equity firm One Equity Partners for $655 million cash. The addition of Sonneborns specialty products is another step in diversifying HollyFrontiers product mix with a shift toward finished products.

Based in Parsippany, New Jersey, Sonneborn has manufacturing plants in Petrolia, Pennsylvania, and in the Netherlands, with a combined processing capacity of roughly 5,300 barrels per day, HollyFrontier President and CEO George Damiris said. Both locations manufacture highly purified white oil, petrolatum, microcrystalline wax, sodium sulfonate and compressor lubricants.

Dallas-based HollyFrontier currently supplies a portion of Sonneborns base oil feedstock. This [acquisition] provides opportunities for additional uplift from our Tulsa and Mississauga base oils, Damiris noted. It increases operational flexibility and allows for feedstock optimization.

Lube-Tech Expands Testing Facility

Lubricant distributor Lube-Techexpanded its engine testing facility in Golden Valley, Minnesota, in November. The company declined to disclose the cost of the project.

The facility, named Test-Tech, now contains 13 engine test stands for outboard marine applications, two-stroke motorcycle engines, hydraulic fluid and shock testing. It also has stands that can use engines ranging from one to 1,500 horsepower for lube and fuel development testing.

Twenty year-old Test-Tech allows for in-house engine testing and provides a variety of services to outside customers. The expansion will allow it to do more contract testing.

API Organizes Engine Oil Spec Group

An industry group spearheaded by theAmerican Petroleum Instituteis making progress on recommendations to improve the engine oil specification development process. A proposal from the Lubricants Standards Development Review Group should be ready by the second quarter this year, said Kevin Ferrick, manager of APIs Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System.

The LSDRG includes members from the International Lubricants Standardization and Advisory Committee, the Engine Manufacturers Association, theAmerican Chemistry Council, API engine oil marketers and base oil manufacturers.

According to Ferrick, the groups goals are to benefit consumers, enable time-
efficient development cycles, promote cost-efficient testing, develop field-relevant tests and enable innovation within the industry.

Petronas Starts Production at Indian Plant

MalaysiasPetronas Lubricants Inter­nationalbegan production at its lubricant blending plant in Patalganga, India. The $50 million plant has production capacity of about 97,000 metric tons per year.

The new plant can produce all categories of automotive engine and gear oils, as well as transmission and hydraulic fluids. The lubricant arm of state-owned oil company Petronas aims to triple its share in Indias lubricant market by 2022.

Venezuela Advances on Retaining Citgo

Venezuela made an initial payment of $425 millionin November to defunct Canadian gold miner Crystallex International Corp. as part of a $1.2 billion amended settlement reached in September.

That followed aUnited States district courts approvalin August of Crystallexs request to seize control of shares from the U.S. subsidiary ofPetroleos de Venezuela, S.A., which ownsCitgo Petroleum.

Crystallex requested that a Delaware court temporarily stay further proceedings until Jan. 10 to provide time for the parties to finalize the full terms for payment of the remaining funds owed, according to court documents.

Crystallex filed grievances against the government of Venezuela in 2011 over lost mining rights to a Venezuelan gold mine. Analysts said that the U.S. district courts August ruling could set off a rush of companies to seize additional shares of Citgo, one of cash-strapped PDVSAs few profitable assets that ranks as the seventh-largest lubricants supplier in the U.S.

NLGI Call for Papers

The National Lubricating Grease Institute is looking for technical papers to present at its annual meeting in Las Vegas, with a Jan. 9 submission deadline. The NLGI 86th Annual Meeting from June 8-11 has a back-to-basics theme of formulating grease to protect rolling element bearings. Papers focusing on additives, testing, environmental impacts, safety concerns, cost savings, improved performance and condition monitoring will be given priority. Papers covering any other success stories of superior application or improvement of technology are also welcome. Up to four commercial papers will be accepted on a first come, first served basis at a cost of $1,000 for member companies and $2,000 for non-members. Visit for more information.

Briefly Noted

Parkland Fuel Corp. acquired Holbrook, Arizona-basedBradco Fuels and Lubricants. Bradco, a distributor of ExxonMobil lubricants and specialty products in New Mexico and Arizona, will operate under the Calgary-based companys U.S. subsidiary, Parkland USA.

Buckman selected Univar as distributor of microbicides, deposit control products, dispersing agents and high-performance additives in the U.S. and Canada.

Lanxess restructured its distribution setup for its lubricant additives products in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, appointing eight new distribution partners: Krahn Chemie Deutschland GmbH, Petrico Ltd., Pemco Additives AB, Trigueros Quimica S.L., Brenntag, FinExim OU, Addisol Endless Resources and InterActive SA.

Specialty materials manufacturer Troy Corp.completed the acquisition of Moerdijk, Netherlands-based DBM Blending B.V. The deal includes an industrial chemical manufacturing facility near Rotterdam.

Faces in the News

SI Group made changes to its executive leadership. Frank Bozich was named CEO, Patrick Weinberg is now senior v.p. and CFO, while John Steitz is CEO of additives. Chris Cornille became senior v.p. of supply chain services, Wei Ru is now senior v.p. of engineering and process technology, Paul Tilley was named senior v.p. of chemical intermediates and industrial resins, and Rich White is senior v.p. of manufacturing and environmental health, safety and quality. The company also appointed Chris Roberts as v.p. of its fuels and lubricants business unit.

Markus Hoschke joined Oxea as executive v.p. of global marketing and sales. He previously worked at specialty chemicals distributor Azelis. The company also named Oliver Borgmeier COO, and its current CEO, Salim Al Huthaili, will also oversee Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Industries, a joint venture of Oman Oil Co. and Kuwait Petroleum International.

Sheli Porter is now technical service representative for Savant Labs customer support team. Previously, Porter worked as a laboratory technician and research chemist at Lubrizol-CPI Fluid Engineering.

Charles Ross & Son Co. named Gregg Drames regional sales manager for the Mid-Atlantic region.

Hammonia Oleochemicals GmbH announced Andreas Martin took over as business director of lubricants.


The November 2018 Auto column overstated the energy equivalent of gasoline consumption by a factor of 10. Replacing the gasoline burned as fuel in the U.S. in 2017 would have required about 5 billion kilowatt hours of additional energy production. This equates to less than 1 percent of current electricity generation capacity.

Related Topics

Market Topics