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Agreements Near for GF-6

Automakers and the lubricants industry are closer to wrapping up the long-delayedILSACGF-6 passenger car motor oil category after the International Lubricant Standardization and Advisory Committee issued a response to a plan proposed by theAmerican Chemistry Councilto set less stringent limits for several performance tests.

By moving closer to test limits proposed by the ACC, ILSAC improved chances that first licensing could occur by the second quarter of 2020, which is roughly the target for automakers.

Industry representatives developing GF-6 have finished initial designing of most of the engine and bench tests that make up the specification and are now in the tech demo period when formulators try to develop oils that can meet its requirements. Findings from that work are factored in to finalize pass-fail limits for the various tests.

ILSAC currently targets first allowable use to be in April 2020, but many industry observers have said the current trajectory would likely push the date about six months later, to October 2020.

Bringing the category to market earlier could be critical to allowing use of the new fluids in model year 2021 vehicles and to encouraging wider use ofSAE0W-16 oils as part of GF-6B, a category for oils that help improve fuel economy. Negotiating the targets for fuel economy improvement from ILSAC GF-5 to ILSAC GF-6 is central to finalizing the new specification.

Sopremac Opens Blend Plant

Biskra, Algeria-based Sarl Sopremac opened a lube oil blending plant in Algeria that began production of multigrade motor oils and industrial lubricants in January.

The $13.7 million facility has capacity to produce 25,000 metric tons per year and will manufacture a wide range of lubricants made from conventional and synthetic base stocks, according to David Derouet ofLeroux Lotz Industry, the French company that constructed and equipped the new plant.

Sopremac makes its own commercial brand, Sopre-Oil, and also distributes theVeedolbrand under an agreement with Tide Water Oil in India. Both brands will be manufactured at the facility.

Isla Refinery Halts Search Amid Probe

Curacaos government suspended its impending selection of a new operator for itsIsla Refinery until a probe into corruption allegations regarding the selection is resolved.

Last July, the refinery planned to choose a replacement for current operator,Petroleos de Venezuela, by October 2018. The selection was delayed after the supervisory board received unspecified allegations about the bidding, leading to the November launch of an investigation and to Refinery Managing Director Roderick Van Kwartel and two other employees being put on leave, according to a November article by Reuters.

Since then, the preferred bidder has pulled out. Houston-based Motiva Enterprises, which is wholly owned by Saudi Aramco, had reportedly been chosen as the preferred bidder, though refinery and government officials, as well as Motiva representatives, have refused to confirm or deny that.

The refinery has been searching for a suitor to take over operations once its contract with struggling Venezuela-owned PDVSA expires in December. A legal dispute between PDVSA and ConocoPhillips halted production at the refinery after the latter had seized crude feedstock shipments from the state-run firm last year.

Cilacap Upgrade Delayed

Upgrading of Indonesias base oil plant at its Cilacap refinery has been delayed due to ongoing negotiations for the formation of a new joint venture between Pertamina and Saudi Aramcofor the implementation of the upgrade.

State-owned oil and gas company PT Pertaminas officials said in December that the upgrade of the Cilacap refinery in Central Java was expected to be completed by 2024. The initial target for commercial production to begin was 2021.

Pertamina officials said they planned to form ajoint venture with Saudi Aramco this year before calling for a tender for the engineering, procurement and construction of the upgrade. The refinery has an existing base oil plant with capacity to make 450,000 metric tons per year of API Group I base oil, and after the upgrade will make an undisclosed volume of Group II base stocks.

Eni, OMV Buy Stakes in Adnoc

Italys Eni and Austrian oil company OMV bought a combined 35 percent ownership stake in Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. for a total of $5.8 billion, as part of a plan for Adnoc to expand its operations, including at its refining complex in Al Ruwais, United Arab Emirates.

State-owned Adnoc awarded Eni and OMV 20 percent and 15 percent stakes, respectively, in its refining unit, which includes a base oil plant with capacity to make 500,000 metric tons per year of API Group III and 100,000 t/y of Group II base oils. The three companies established a trading joint venture as part of the deal.

Oxea Plans Carboxylic Acid Expansion

German chemical company Oxea said it will optimize production processes at existing facilities, then build another plant by 2021 to increase production capacity of carboxylic acids, which are used to manufacture lubricant esters.

The company first said in July 2018 that it would increase its carboxylic production capacity in order to meet rising demand from synthetic refrigeration lubricants and animal feeds. It has not yet selected a location for its sixth plant and is considering sites in Oman and China, as well as locations of its existing facilities.

Thai Firms Team to Recycle Containers

Bangchak Corp. and SCG Chemical Co. signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a lubricant packaging recycling scheme in Thailand.

The program, named Greenovative Lube Packaging, would recycle containers collected from Bangchaks fuel stations and Furio Care, an automotive service outlet owned by Bangchak. It would use SCGs contacts of plastics producers, packaging molders, container owners, service providers, lubricant users and recyclers to ensure that the containers get recycled. The companies did not say if their partnership already has a process for recycling the containers or facilities where they would do so.

A similar recycling scheme was established by lubricant suppliers in New Zealand in June 2018. (Read the full story on Page 36.)

Briefly Noted

South KoreasDaelim Industrialwill build an 80,000-metric-tons-per-year polyisobutene plant in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, that is expected to come on stream in 2024, under a memorandum of understanding reached with Saudi Aramco and Total. This marks the first time PIB will be produced in Saudi Arabia.

BASFincreased aminic antioxidant capacity at its Puebla, Mexico, site to keep up with growing demand for lubricant additives in North America.

Brenntag AG acquired the lubricants arm of Fort Worth, Texas-based Reeder Distributors Inc.

French supplier Rubis acquired Kenyan lubricant marketer KenolKobil in February. The company distributes lubricants and other oil products in Kenya, Burundi, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia.

Asheboro, North Carolina-based Pugh-Apollo-Veterans acquired Halco Lubricants, a distributor covering Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. It also acquired Jonesboro, Arkansas-based Mid-South Sales.

Shepherd Chemical Co., a producer of metal-based lubricant additives, is making an $8.5 million expansion to its Mirecourt, France, production facility, potentially doubling its current production capacity of 2,000 metric tons per year.

Azelis will distribute Angus Chemical Co.s line of nitroalkanes and their derivatives, which are sold into the metalworking fluids market, in Russia and Belgium.

Stourport-on-Severn, United Kingdom-based waste lubricating oil collector Slicker Recycling acquired fellow waste oil collector J Vant Ltd.

Faces in the News

Nynas appointed company CFO Bo Askvik interim president and CEO. Gert Wendroth, president and CEO since 2014, will leave the company.

Specialty chemicals distributor Connell appointed Azita Owlia president and CEO. She joined the company in 2011 as vice president of its north Asia division.

Frank Bozich, CEO of SI Group, resigned from the company to seek an executive role at Trinseo. Dave Mezzanotte, director at SK Capital Partners, will take over as interim CEO. The company also appointed Rich Preziotti senior vice president and president of additives.

Bob Rechtin, senior key account manager at Pilot Chemical Co., retired in January after 13 years with the company.

Fuchs Lubricants appointed Laura Morrey as product developer and manager.

Ametek Land, a unit of Ametek Inc., promoted Manfred Hayk to global infrared product manager. Prior to this role, he was the companys sales channel manager for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia.

Shrewsbury, United Kingdom-based Morris Lubricants appointed Chris Slezakowski as managing director.


The February 2019 Need to Know column incorrectly stated that Shell supplies genuine oil for Mercedes Benz. ExxonMobil is the engine oil supplier for Mercedes Benz USA.

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