Bio & Synthetics
Investments in oleochemicals projects in Malaysia have more than doubled during the first five months of 2014, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority recently disclosed.
Naco Lubrication Co. and Luan Group are building a plant in Chinas Shanxi Province that will use coal-to-liquids feedstocks to manufacture polyalphaolefins for synthetic lubricants. The PAO facility is scheduled to begin operations in the third quarter of 2015.
Asia is a very minor market for the finished products, with demand that pales compared to Europe and the Americas. However, biolubricant suppliers say Asian demand could take off if prices come into line and regulations are put in place.
A Chinese ether maker decided to maximize its competitiveness through serving niche markets.
The market for high quality base oils and synthetics in India will expand going forward as automakers strive to meet stringent environmental legislation and develop technologies for fuel economy, experts said at an industry event in Mumbai last month.
Biodegradable base stocks have yet to gain much popularity in China, but a growing number of companies are making investments and positioning their businesses in hopes of future demand.
As warranties expire on the first waves of Indonesia's low-cost green cars, independent automobile workshops are likely to see significant growth in their oil change business, according to Ipsos Business Consulting.
Frost & Sullivan projects revenue from oleochemicals manufactured in Southeast Asia - including fatty acids and fatty alcohols used in lubricants manufacturing - will more than double from 2013 to 2020.
The Asia-Pacific regions total lube market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of nearly 4 percent through 2025, a Frost & Sullivan analyst said at a recent industry gathering in Singapore. Minor dips in demand due to longer-lasting motor oils will be offset by increased vehicle manufacturing.
Industry observers say biolubricants are unlikely to take off in Asia unless governments provide incentives or mandates for their use. Malaysia appears be taking steps to do just that.