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Petrobras to Exit Colombia

Brazil’s Petrobras said that it plan s to sell its fuels and lubricants business in Colombia as part of a broader plan to sell assets to optimize its capital resources.

Pecco currently holds 3.5 percent of the Colombian lubricant market but is largely underutilizing a blending plant there. The business produced 5,300 metric tons of lubricants in 2019, but the blending plant, located in Bogota, has capacity to make 48,000 tons per year. Along with its fuels business, the company earned U.S. $7.1 million in 2019, a teaser said.

Petrobras will accept bids until April 3 from companies with net annual revenues, shareholder equity or assets of at least $100 million. Parties submitting valid bids will receive confidential packets with additional information. 

New Standards and Plants in India

United Arab Emirates-based GP Global said it plans to invest $14 million to build a greenfield lubricant blending plant in western India. The plant will be located in Saronda village of Valsad district in Gujarat state and will have production capacity of about 300,000 tons per year. 

The new plant will produce grease, white oil and automotive and industrial lubricants. Licensed to manufacture and market Spanish producer Repsol’s finished products in India, GP may blend Repsol-branded automotive products as well. 

Also in India, in an attempt to ease the impact of growing competition for lithium, the Bureau of Indian Standards is expanding government performance standards for greases to cover other types of thickeners.  

The Indian Standard 7623 specification for industrial greases was revised so that it no longer specifies particular types of thickeners. The revision relaxed requirements for water wash-out resistance as well as antiwear and extreme pressure performance. An elastomer compatibility parameter was added. 

A revision has also been drafted for IS 12203 for automotive greases, which currently specifies only lithium thickeners. The revision modifies the requirements of free organic acidity, elastomer compatibility and low-temperature torque.

IPAC Wins Case Against Distributor

Dublin, California-based additive supplier IPAC won two arbitration decisions against former distributor Black Gold S.A.R.L and former employee Jeff Melendez for misappropriation of intellectual property.

An arbitrator ordered Black Gold to pay IPAC $687,703 in damages plus $406,000 in fees and arbitration costs for misappropriating confidential IPAC information in order to develop and sell products that were deemed knock-offs of IPAC’s. Melendez was ordered to pay $55,306.

IPAC still has a related arbitration case pending against Steven Plitt, another former employee. Along with Black Gold co-owner Lorenzo Napoleoni, Plitt co-founded PXL Chemicals, the company accused of selling IPAC-like products.

A Nov. 9, 2019 ruling by the federal district court for the Northern District of California confirmed the arbitrator’s findings.

Black Gold is contesting enforcement of the award against it in Monaco, and Napoleoni said that his company denies the allegations and that the arbitration ruling was unfairly reached. Plitt also denied retaining confidential IPAC information to make PXL products.

Greek Refiner Branches Out

Lubricants and Petroleum Corp., a subsidiary of Greek petroleum refiner Motor Oil Hellas, recently announced two new business initiatives. 

The first includes a 30 million euro investment to establish a joint venture blending plant in Algeria that will have capacity to produce 55,000 metric tons per year of lubricating oils and 5,000 t/y of greases.

The new plant is in partnership with the National Company for the Marketing and Distribution of Petroleum Products, Naftal Spa, a subsidiary of Algerian national oil company Sonatrach. LPC holds a 49 percent stake in the joint venture while Naftal holds the remaining 51 percent. Construction will take an estimated 24 months.

LPC’s second initiative is the opening of a $3.9 million industrial grease plant at its Aspropyrgos facility. The new plant will have production capacity of 3,000 tons annually and is part of an effort to cement LPC’s position as one of the largest lube suppliers in Southeastern Europe. 

The plant produced its first batches of greases in January and features a pressurized reactor for efficient heat transfer and mixing. It produces greases formulated with API Group I and Group III base oils, fatty acids, metal hydroxides and additives. The finished products are lithium soap, lithium complex and non-metallic greases that comply with NLGI 00 and NLGI 3 consistency grades.

JV Will Make Repsol Lubes in Indonesia

An Indonesian blending plant partly owned by Repsol will begin producing the company’s lubricants this month. 

In September, Repsol agreed to purchase a 40 percent equity stake in lubricant manufacturer United Oil, and the agreement was completed in November. United Oil has two lubricant blending plants: the Indonesia facility, which has production capacity of 80,000 metric tons per year, and a 60,000 t/y plant in Singapore. The Indonesia plant is operated by subsidiary PT Pacific Lubritama Indonesia.

Repsol said it plans to increase capacity at the Indonesian plant. “We are adding more production lines, new laboratory equipment, increasing warehouse capacity, and aim to get new [ISO] certifications,” a spokesperson said.

The plant will produce Repsol’s entire range of industrial oils and diesel engine oils for Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

“One of our aims with this joint venture is to open new market segments for Repsol in the region. More than 50 percent of our sales in Spain are of industrial lubricants, and our footprint in this segment in Asia Pacific is still very far from that,” the spokesman said.

Indonesia is the third manufacturing hub for Repsol. The company has one each in Spain and Mexico.

Calumet Acquires Wax Maker

Calumet Specialty Products Partners acquired Paralogics, a producer of candle and industrial wax blends based in Muncie, Indiana. Terms were not disclosed. 

The acquisition will increase Calumet’s blending and formulating capacity by 20 million pounds per year and add to its packaging and logistical capabilities, the company noted. 

Calumet has refined specialty wax production capacity of 120 million pounds per year of paraffin, intermediate and microcrystalline waxes at its facility in Shreveport, Louisiana. The company also produces slack and soft waxes, along with petrolatum. 

Paralogics makes preblended, soy-based and natural wax blends for candles as well as fully refined paraffin waxes, microcrystallines, natural waxes, petrolatums and polyethylene and Fischer-Tropsch waxes for industrial applications.

Briefly Noted

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. appointed Xiamen Sinolook Oil Co. Ltd. as exclusive seller of Adnoc’s API Group III base oil into China.

SK Lubricants acquired a 49 percent stake in Mekong Petrochemical JSC, Vietnam’s largest private lubricant company.

Idemitsu and Enoc Group signed an agreement allowing Enoc to produce and distribute Idemitsu lubricants in the United Arab Emirates and neighboring countries. 

Mississauga, Ontario-based lubricant manufacturer H.L. Blachford Ltd. acquired Cleveland, Ohio-based lubricant and corrosion inhibitor company Markee International Corp.

Faces in the News

Ingevity Corp. announced that D. Michael Wilson would resign as president, CEO and director due to matters relating to personal conduct. Board Chairman Richard Kelson is interim president and CEO.

Calumet announced that Tim Go will resign as CEO effective June 1. The Indianapolis-based company appointed Steve Mawer, a current board member, to take over as CEO. 

Lubrizol U.K. appointed Alison Fisher as general manager at its national headquarters in Derbyshire. Fisher also serves as general manager of sales in Europe and Africa.

MFG Chemical named Paul Turgeon president and CEO, succeeding Keith Arnold. The company also appointed Jonathan O’Dwyer as vice president of commercial operations.

Katie VanQuathem has been appointed area business manager for the North American specialties sales group of Emery Oleochemicals. 

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