Market Topics



Amalie Acquires LSC

Amalie Oil Co.signed a letter of intent to purchase the United States business of Lubricating Specialties Co. Financial terms were not disclosed for the agreement, which is expected to close on or before May 31.

LSC was in discussions with a select group of strategic buyers, and Amalie was chosen to move forward with, said LSC CEO Sydney Thwaites. Amalie is the largest independent lubricant manufacturer in the U.S. LSC is the largest in the Western U.S. The combined entity creates a dominant platform in the industry with a wide range of product and service capabilities.

LSC customers will not see any changes in quality and service, and Thwaites noted that Amalie brings the ability to serve LSCs customers over a stronger, more flexible network with significant supply chain advantages. He said no immediate changes are expected to LSC management.

Pico Rivera, California-based LSC has production facilities at three locations in the Los Angeles area: Pico Rivera, Azusa and Vernon. Its two blending plants in Jamaica, which serve the Caribbean and South America, are not part of the sale to Amalie.

Valvoline Grows Globally

Valvoline Inc. acquired Serbian lubricant blender Fam in March for 9.5 million euros ($10.7 million) in a bid to expand its presence in Eastern Europe.

The deal encompasses Fams Krusevac production facility with a 21,600-ton-per-year lubricant and grease plant, a unit for production of corrosion inhibitors and degreasers, a packaging facility and a storage tank park with total capacity of almost 19,000 metric tons. Valvoline also has the right to use Fams line of Fenix-branded motor oil products and its distribution network in the region.

Fam makes motor and industrial oils, greases, metalworking fluids, corrosion inhibitors, degreasers and other products. Its facility has the capability to produce both Fam and Valvoline branded products.

In the U.S., Valvoline signed an agreement to purchase 12 quick-lube centers from Paradise, Nevada-based Terrible Herbst and rebrand the stores as Valvoline Instant Oil Change, with the acquisition to close by the end of March.

The company is also expanding in China, awarding the engineering, procurement and construction management contract for its new blending and packaging facility in Zhangjiagang, China, to Fluor Corp. Production is expected to begin by the end of 2020 at the 80,000-square-meter plant, which will have capacity to produce more than 30 million gallons of finished lubricants and coolants annually.

Also in China, Valvoline entered into a joint venture with Chinese quick-lube service provider The Master Too to operate quick-lube service centers in Shandong province.

Lanxess Expands Corrosion Inhibitor Capacity

Lanxess completed a 15 percent expansion to its global production capacity of corrosion inhibition additives, which are used in a number of products including metalworking fluids and greases.

The company did not disclose the amount of new capacity, which comes as a result of a debottlenecking project.

Our technology and production teams exchanged best practices and technology know-how that resulted in our Mannheim [Germany] plant being able to adopt the filtering technology used at West Hill [Canada]. The changes in production processes resulted in significantly reducing the processing time in a selected calcium sulfonate grade, Lanxess representative Leanne Trevelline said.

Lanxess acquired the West Hill facility when it bought Chemtura, a Philadelphia-based chemicals manufacturer, for $2.6 billion in April 2017.

The companys corrosion inhibition products include calcium sulfonate, carboxylate, succinic acid and phosphoric acid-based products. Main applications include power transmission oils, industrial oils, metalworking fluids, anti-corrosion oils and greases.

JASO Preps Ultra-
low-vis Spec

The Japanese Auto­motive Standards Organization is preparing for adoption this month of a new specification for ultra-low-viscosity SAE 0W-12 and SAE 0W-8 passenger car motor oils, GLV-1.

The specifications have been completed, and there will be a half-year waiting period and implementation will start in October, said Yamamori Kazuo of Toyota Motor Corp.

Japanese automakers took the rare step of developing a Japanese passenger car motor oil specification because they have been pioneering the use of ultra-low-viscosity oils and are now recommending use of SAE 0W-12 and SAE 0W-8 oils for some models. ILSAC GF-6, the specification under development by ILSAC and expected to be introduced in 2020, does not cover those viscosity grades.

This is a JASO specification, so it is a Japanese specification, but if automotive manufacturers introduce vehicles using 0W-8 lubricants globally, the GLV-1 specification for engine oils is necessary, Yamamori added. In the future, we also plan to look into introducing it into the ILSAC specifications, beginning with GF-7.

RelaDyne Extends Reach Again

Lubricant distributor RelaDyne closed on the acquisitions of Mansura, Louisiana-based Rachel Oil Co. and Columbus, Mississippi-based Dutch Lubricants, further extending the Cincinnati, Ohio-based companys reach into the Gulf Coast and Southeast regions of the United States. Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

Dutch Lubricants has distribution centers throughout Mississippi-in Jackson, Tupelo and Columbus-and one in Birmingham, Alabama. Rachel Oil Co. has one center at its headquarters.

The acquisition of Rachel Oil Co. is the third of 2019, said Jeff Hart, RelaDynes chief security officer. We are looking forward to a very busy and robust 2019 as we continue to create a national distribution platform.

Dutch Lubricants, which specializes in distributing industrial and commercial lubricants, services customers in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana. Rachel Oil Co. distributes lubricants and fuel to companies in the agricultural, construction, industrial and marine industries across Louisiana.

Castrol India Expands Silvassa Plant

Castrol India Ltd. plans to expand its Silvassa blending plants capacity by 50 percent by 2021 to adapt to the changing landscape of the Indian lubricant industry and to meet growing demand, a company official said.

The lubricant blending plant, which has production capacity of 100 million liters per year, currently produces about 80 million liters annually. It is located in the Indian Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, in western India.

An investment of around $20 million will increase the plants capacity by 150 million liters per year, said Omer Dormen, managing director at Castrol India.

This project will involve setting up of new tank farms, blending facilities and faster and high-tech filling and packaging lines, Dormen reported. He said the expansion will enhance the companys production agility so that it can meet demand that is moving toward smaller-sized packs.

Shell Opens U.S. Distribution Center

Shell Lubricants opened a 455,000-square-foot regional distribution center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with the help of third-party logistics provider Kenco Logistics. The facility is the largest of Shells 11 distribution centers in the United States.

The center will provide staging for products made at the companys Congo, West Virginia, blending plant, which is less than 30 miles away, said Carlos Maurer, president of Shell Lubricants Americas. He declined to disclose the capacity of the plant.

Most products passing through the Pittsburgh facility will go to retail stores, original equipment manufacturers and Shell distributors, but in some cases the products may go directly to end-users, noted Maurer.

API Fights Fake Labels

The American Petroleum Institute is naming and shaming engine oils that use its certification marks without authorization, posting them on a new webpage as part of a continuing effort to call out counterfeiters.

API has concerns about oils in the marketplace that are using the API engine oil marks without API approval and believes a more aggressive approach is now needed to call out these oils, said Kevin Ferrick, director of APIs Products Programs.

The institute works with a vendor that sends out collectors to procure samples of API licensed oils for testing. During the collection process, API also tests non-licensed oils that claim to meet an API standard.

Oils found in the marketplace that API determines are not licensed are posted on a webpage that features details about the marketer, brand, viscosity and region where the product is sold, as well as a photo of the front and back labels. At the time of writing, the website had six oils listed, all from marketer Questron Packaging LLC.

API will make every effort to contact the counterfeiters and demand that the products be recalled from the marketplace, Ferrick said.

AKR Establishes Lubricant Subsidiary

PT AKR Corporindo Tbk., an Indonesian supplier of petroleum products and chemicals, established a subsidiary to focus on trading and distributing lubricants.

West Jakarta-based AKR, which is publicly held, was formed 55 years ago as a chemicals supplier but expanded into petroleum products distribution during the 2000s. Those operations now account for two thirds of its revenue, which reached $1.2 billion through the first three quarters of 2018.

The company has stated its goal of competing with state-owned Pertamina, which currently dominates the nations petroleum markets.

AKR does not have its own lubricant brand but distributes Castrol lubricants for industrial, marine, mining and commercial vehicle applications as part of a broader agreement that it entered with Castrol in 2017.

Cosmo, Cepsa Consider Cooperating

Cosmo Oil and Spanish refiner Cepsa are discussing ways of aligning lubricant businesses and may use each others blending plants to do so.

The companies, which have cooperated in other businesses for the past five years, signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this year to extend the partnership to lubes. It calls for them to share lubricant technology and establish a framework for cooperating in lubricant manufacturing, supplying and selling.

Cosmo is one of the larger lubricant suppliers in Japan and has expanded into overseas markets, primarily North America and Southeast Asia. Cepsa, which is headquartered in Madrid, sells lubricants in more than 80 countries. Both companies said their cooperation should make it easier for them to enter new markets.

Europe Tackles Read-Across, Interchange

European lubricants industry groups have taken steps toward providing base oil interchange and viscosity grade read-across guidelines, having written almost none for the past two decades despite dramatic changes in base stocks and automotive engine oils.

We are aligned and committed to progress base oil interchange and viscosity grade read-across guidelines for the collective industry as a whole, said Ari van de Ven, an executive committee member of the technical association of Europes lubricant industry, known as ATIEL, referring to a cooperative effort between that group and the Additive Technical Committee.

European and North American specifications have extensive guidelines for Group I base stocks, which were developed in the 1990s. But while North American specs also have significant amounts of guidelines for Group II base stocks and lesser amounts for Group III, European specs have almost none.

ATIEL has created a task group charged with finding the most effective development method, determining the cost and finding a mechanism to cover those costs.

The organization has also concluded that the European industries should make guideline development and funding part of specification development, as their North American counterparts do.

Briefly Noted

Total Tanzania Ltd. launched its $20 million oil blending plant, which has capacity to produce 15,000 metric tons per year of lubricants, greases and coolants.

Quaker Chemical Corp. opened its metalworking fluids and rolling oils manufacturing facility in Dahej, India, on Feb. 28.

Enoc Group entered a partnership with Indian Oil develop cylinder oil compatible with fuels that meet the International Maritime Organizations 2020 sulfur cap of 0.5 percent, and to distribute marine lubricants.

Ennakl Automobiles will distribute the Total Quartz lubricants range in its network of 21 agencies and 11 workshops spread across Tunisia under a contract renewed for a five-year period with Total Tunisia.

ExxonMobil extended French distributor TTA Lubrifiants distribution area for Mobil lubricant products to cover all of France, excluding Corsica and including the principalities of Monaco and Andorra.

Faces in the News

X B Cox, ExxonMobil senior engineering advisor, retired on Feb. 28. Rick Dougherty has assumed some of his responsibilities with the title ofchief of base stocks and specialty technology.

John Verity, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Co., has retired. Karen McKee, senior vice president for basic chemicals, integration and growth, was appointed to take Veritys place effective April 1.

Chevron Products Co., a division of Chevron U.S.A. Inc., announced that Tracey Gardiner succeeded Cary Knuth as vice president of base oils on Jan. 1. The company also named Luyen Vo marketing and business development manager, immediately succeeding Brent Lok, who will retire this month.

American Refining Group announced that Jon Giberson will succeed Jeannine Schoenecker as president and chief operating officer. John Malone joined ARGs leadership team as vice president of sales and marketing.

David Bradley became CEO of SI Group on March 18, replacing Frank A. Bozich. Bradley was president and CEO of Nexeo Solutions. David Mezzanotte of SK Capital had been serving as interim CEO.

Fuchs Petrolub announced that Kurt Bock will succeed Jurgen Hambrecht, who plans to resign on May 7 as chairman of its supervisory board. Bock was the CEO of chemical manufacturer BASF SE.

Chicago-based Tower Metalworking Fluids named Scott Prince president and chief operating officer.

Phil Levey will return to Monson as account manager for lubricants and metalworking fluids, responsible for Southern Ohio, Indiana, Western Pennsylvania and New York.

Related Topics

Market Topics