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February 23, 2018

Volume 7 Issue 8

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National Association Proposed for India

MUMBAI – India, the world’s third-largest finished lubricants market, does not have a nationwide trade group to represent the industry. A number of companies are now looking to remedy that by forming an association to act as their unified voice, after a consultant floated the idea at a conference here earlier this month.

“We need to come together along with [national companies like] HPCL, BPCL, IOCL and the multinational companies for the good cause of industry,” Rosefield DAA International Consultancy Managing Partner Shailendra Gokhale said Feb. 9 at the All India Base Oil, Lubricant and Wax Conference. Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd., Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. and Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. are public sector utilities and among the leading lube suppliers in India.

Attendees representing several companies, including Shell Global Lubricants, HPCL, GP Petroleums and Brenntag Ingredients (India), endorsed the idea. 

“This is a very welcome step, and I feel we should have it,” said Sanjay Kumar, chief general manager of Hindustan Petroleum. Rajib Kumar Saha, lubricants business manager at Brenntag Ingredients, also agreed, saying that it is an opportunity for all companies and that the process to form the association should be started immediately.

Siva Kasturi, Asia-Pacific regional OEM manager of Shell Global Lubricants, predicted it would be easy to convince a lot of companies to join the initiative once a framework on corporate governance guidelines is written.

Gokhale said he plans to poll companies to gather opinions about the structure of the association and committees they would like it to have. He plans to draft a framework for the group in coming months.

India is one of the world’s few lubricant markets that are both large and growing at a significant pace. The country does have several trade groups representing lube manufacturers and distributors, but only at the state or regional level.

During his conference address, Gokhale suggested that a pan-India association should address issues related to product quality, training, and disposal and reuse of used lubricants. It should also look to collaborate with other domestic and global industry associations and facilitate networking by organizing trade fairs and seminars. He said it should be comprised of producers, marketers, distributors, traders and stockists of lubricants, base stocks and additives, as well as used oil traders in India.

Gokhale added that the need for a national association is growing as the industry evolves and because of looming developments such as India’s plan to jump from the BS IV automobile emissions standard directly to BS VI in 2020. BS VI is equivalent to the European Union’s Euro 6 standard and is expected to require engine design changes that require more advanced engine oils.

Gokhale said an association would also lobby the government on regulations and policies that affect member companies and work to combat counterfeiting. It would strictly avoid discussing pricing and customers, though, to remain within fair trade laws.