Europes lubricant industry has fallen far behind in the development of base oil interchange and viscosity grade read-across guidelines but is now working to develop rules so oil companies can better cope with growing market complexity.
Sanctions drafted by the United States senate aim to punish Russian oil companies and banks, but Russian sources insist they will not harm the countrys lubricant industry, which would rely more on local products. However, they warn it could effectively cut the industry off from international markets.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. signed agreements Sunday selling a combined 35 percent stake in itself to Eni and OMV for a total of $5.8 billion. The companies said they intend to expand Adnoc operations, including its refining complex in Al Ruwais, United Arab Emirates, which has a base oil plant.
When the United States reinstates sanctions on Irans oil industry in November, close to U.S. $47 billion of exports are likely to be hit hard. Gauging the impact on future base oil shipments has been difficult because of a dearth of accurate data, but a recent conference presentation by one refiner depicts the Islamic Republics base stock business as a major source of export revenues.
Lubricant demand has been essentially flat over the past 25 years, yet millions of tons of new annual base oil capacity has come to market since the year 2000. The rate of additions has far out-paced plant closings, creating surpluses that have ramped up competition and put some base oil suppliers in a precarious position, an analyst explained at an industry event in London.
API Group II base stocks have carved a place for themselves in Europe during the past decade, and an Infineum official noted recently that several new suppliers are now entering the market.
Shipments of API Group I base oils from Iran face disruption following United States President Donald Trumps decision to pull out of the 2015 agreement for Iran to rollback its nuclear program as fears of a trade blockade increase.
The Middle East has become a prominent producer and net exporter of API Group II and Group III base oil, using its glut of over 2 million tons of material to cater to demand in India, North America and Western Europe, an industry insider said at a conference in Moscow.
As global base oil capacity continues its shift from API Group I to Group II base oils - along with rapid growth in Group III - European blenders and Group I base oil producers are taking steps to adapt to the changes, an industry observer told ACIs European Base Oils & Lubricants Interactive Summit in Florence, Italy.
A European Commission committee met on Sept. 6 to discuss whether to renew, amend or abolish a tariff exemption for API Group II base oil imports to the bloc. The waiver is set to expire in December, and ideas to implement a quota are under discussion.