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Handi Eyes Hong Kong IPO

Hainan Handi Sunshine Petrochemical Co. is in talks to prepare an initial public stock offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, aiming to raise funds to develop a finished lubricant business.

Handi has also started construction on the first stage of a long-delayed expansion of its API Group II base oil plant in Hainan, China. It claims to be the fourth-largest refiner in the country.

The company said demand for base oils is dropping in China and in Asia, so it wants to branch into the lucrative high quality lubes segment. It started preparing for an offering in September, but has not yet submitted a prospectus.

Handis ultimate plan is to build a new facility with capacity to make 1.5 million tons per year of Group II+ and Group III base oils, but it was reluctant to undertake such a large project given the weakness of the market. Construction in Hainan started recently; however, the project will be divided into two stages.

Klesch Picks Up Isla Refinery

Refineria di Korsou-the Curacao government entity that owns the Isla Refinery-has agreed for industrial commodities conglomerate Klesch Group to operate the facility, which includes a base oil plant.

Klesch, an investment firm and oil trader, will replace Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., which has operated the refinery since 1985. Klesch, with offices in London and Geneva, does not own any other lubricant-related assets. A statement issued by RdK said the agreement includes a long-term lease on the site.

The refinery has operated rarely if at all over the past year. For a time PdVSA was unable to procure crude oil feedstock because of a lawsuit brought by ConocoPhillips in 2018. The suit was settled, but PdVSA is still hampered by United States sanctions.

PdVSAs lease was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2019, but it was granted a short-term extension to continue operations until a new operator could be found. The extension runs up to a year but could be shorter, depending on how long it takes to transition to the new operator.

Aussie Lubes Association Debuts

A newly created trade body, the Australian Lubricant Association, plans to set up processes for the verification of labels and standardization of lube products sold in the country, while also providing technical assistance to members and developing training programs.

Its the countrys first industry association primarily devoted to the lubricant industry.

While the Australian lubricant and grease industry and market is generally recognized as having high quality and reliable products, an increase in imports in recent years has raised concern that standards of the industry are slipping, leading to an increased level of risk for consumers with respect to lubricant choice.

The Australian lubricant industry was valued at nearly $2 billion Australian dollars (U.S. $1.4 billion) and found to have about 160 players, according to a 2019 survey by market research group IBISWorld.

ALA launched a website in December and had 14 organizations as members at the time.

Lubrizol Partially Reopens Rouen

A regional governing body in France authorized Lubrizol to resume some operations at its Rouen lubricant additive plant, which was sidelined due to a fire on Sept. 26.

Under the decree, Lubrizol may restart blending and solubilizing multifunctional additive packages and viscosity modifiers. The decree did not authorize resumption of manufacturing operations that use chemical reactors nor reopening a large storage facility for finished products, according to the Prefect of Seine-Maritime.

The amount of finished products that may be stored at the site has been reduced by 93 percent, and raw material storage has been reduced by 27 percent, depending on the material.

Nynas Reorganizes

Nynas, one of the worlds largest suppliers of naphthenic base stocks, filed for reorganization in a Swedish court on Dec. 13. The company, a joint venture between Venezuelan national oil companyPetroleos de Venezuela S.A.and Finnish refinerNeste, said United States sanctions against PdVSA eroded its profits.

Its sales of naphthenic base oils fell 8 percent due to sanctions on purchases of Venezuelan crude, Nynas Vice President of Naphthenics Simon Day stated.

The company said it had developed a plan to return to profitability in three years, but its banks declined to adjust the terms of the companys loans and blocked Nynas from its accounts. It has since regained access to those accounts and will pay off expenses incurred since reorganization began, taking a step toward recovering from financial troubles that led the company to file for reorganization protection.

Swedish financial publication Dagens Industri said Nynass liabilities total 12.4 billion Swedish krona (U.S. $1.2 billion).

Nynas said it will pay for deliveries in cash or in advance and prioritize payments to creditors that deliver goods and services, up to 3.5 million SEK, to ensure operations continue during the reorganization process.

Under the original terms, the company could pay a maximum of 2.5 million SEK until Jan. 8, but this was extended.

Shell Acquires Industrial Fluids Manufacturer

Shell Lubricants acquired the assets of American Chemical Technologies Inc., which manufactures and distributes industrial fluids that are based on polyalkylene glycol chemistries. Terms were not disclosed.

The purchase includes ACTs intellectual property, customer contracts and technology and product pipeline, along with two manufacturing facilities in Fowlerville, Michigan-where the company is based-and Bowling Green, Kentucky.

According to ACTs website, its specialized lubricant products include fire retardant hydraulic fluids, environmentally acceptable lubricants, non-varnishing turbine fluids, synthetic gear compounds, synthetic compressor fluids and specialty greases.

The acquisition expands Shells industrial product line, especially for the primary metals and power sectors.

Briefly Noted

ExxonMobilis completing an expansion of its Port Allen lubricant blending plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. As part of the expansion, the site has added new base stock tank storage.

Lanxess acquired Itibanyl Produtos Especiais Ltda., a leading Brazilian manufacturer of biocides, including some used in metalworking fluids and lubricants.

Kluber Lubrication acquired wire drawing lubricant producer Traxit International GmbH and its subsidiaries.

Huntsman Corp.completed the sale of its chemical intermediates and surfactants businesses toIndorama Ventures for approximately $2 billion.

Brazils Petrobras will sell its distribution company in Uruguay so that it can exit the South American countrys lubricants, fuels and liquid fertilizers market.

Sea-Land Chemical will distribute Lanxess Baypure, Bayhibit, Baysolvex and Mersolat product lines throughout Canada.

Specialty chemicals manufacturer Vertellus acquired Denham Springs, Louisiana-based Bercen Chemicals, a lubricant additives and alkyl succinic anhydrides manufacturer.

Faces in the News

Gary Emmick stepped down as president of Valor Oil. His son Josh Emmick took over the position on January 1. Gary will shift into a new role as chairman of the board and CEO.

Motiva Enterprises selected Amy Marlyse Plato to be the companys executive vice president, general counsel. She succeeds Chris Vice.

Pilot Chemical has named Rob Harpum its new metalworking and lubricants sales manager.

WD-40 Co.s board of directors appointed Neal Schmale as independent lead director and CEO Garry Ridge as chairman of the board. Ridge replaces Linda Lang as chairman.

Kerry Larkin is now country manager, UK & Ireland with Petro-Canada Lubricants.


The January 2020 article In Search of Base Oils Shangri-La misattributed a quote on Page 23 to Steve Ames. The statement, Thats why we see Korean base oils and Middle Eastern product in the U.S. … was made by Jamie Brunk.

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