Many of the automotive engine oil trends that are swaying markets globally - the drive for greater fuel economy, extended service life and durability, and rapid advancements in engine design - are also influencing the Latin American lubricants market, according to several presenters at the ICIS Pan American Base Oils and Lubricants Conference last month.
Shell Lubricants and Comercial Importadora, S. de R.L. de C.V. - known as CISA - recently announced a new joint venture partnership in Mexico that includes investments in existing facilities, increased lubricant production capacity, new marketing capabilities and local workforce training and development.
BASF increased lubricant antioxidant capacity at its Puebla, Mexico, site to keep up with growing demand for additives that lengthen the life of lubricants, the company announced last week. The new capacity of the facility was not disclosed, but the company did say production began last quarter.
Repsol announced Monday an agreement to acquire 40 percent of lubricant distributor Bardahl de Mexico, which will enable the Spanish energy company to manufacture and sell its own lubricants in Mexico. Terms of the agreement - expected to close in 2018s third quarter - were not disclosed.
North Americas lubricant market is expected to inch up from 2.9 billion gallons in 2017 to 3 billion gallons by 2020, with industrial oils continuing to constitute the largest share, according to consultancy Kline & Co. Government policies, including potential changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement and new environmental rules in the United States, should spur growth in some cases and tamp down demand in others.
The Mexican government is preparing to publish new national engine oil standards that are modeled on those in the United States and which would replace its own antiquated standards.
A new engine oil standard that takes effect in Mexico in mid-2020 should help promote fair competition in the country's lubricants industry, an industry insider said.
Base oil trade through the U.S. border city of Brownsville, Texas, is booming, thanks to growing demand in Mexico and a lack of supply base in that country. Lube Report visited a terminal for an up close view.
Starting next year, passenger car and heavy-duty diesel engine oils sold in Mexico will be required to meet standards that minimize oil degradation, reduce emissions and increase drain intervals. The certification comes at a time when the Latin American country aims to keep unprofessional players off the market.
The future of Mexicos state-run base oil plant will be troubled if the government continues to ignore investing in the aging structure, industry analysts said at a conference.
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