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July 5, 2019

Volume 7 Issue 8

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Most Diesel Oils in Asia Behind the Times

SINGAPORE – Diesel engine oils of obsolete API CF-4 service category and below still dominate Asia’s major commercial vehicle markets – China, India and Indonesia – a Lubrizol marketing official said at the ICIS Base Oils & Lubricants conference here last week.

“Fifty percent of lubricants sold in these markets are at CF-4 and below, and that is technology from 29 years ago,” said Kapil Telang, Lubrizol’s marketing manager for India, Middle East, Southeast Asia and Japan.

Photo: Xinhua/Alamy

A line of Jiefang trucks in China's Jilin Province. Diesel engine oils of obsolete API CF-4 service category and below still dominate Asia’s major commercial vehicle markets – China, India and Indonesia.

China, India and Indonesia together make up 65 percent of Asia’s total commercial vehicle parc of 54 million, Telang noted in his presentation. The three countries account for 50 percent of Asia’s total commercial vehicle engine oil demand of 1.9 million tons.

End-user awareness of appropriate lubricant usage is low in Asia. “There is a need to educate end users that it is no longer sufficient to use API CF-4 to protect the modern equipment,” he added.

Although 78 percent of end users are aware of viscosity grades, he said, only 2 percent are aware of original equipment manufacturer specifications and 33 percent know of American Petroleum Institute specifications. Lubricant selection criteria for end-users includes viscosity grade, brand, availability, price and prior experience with the product. Key influencers include mechanics, lubricant retailers, friends and truck owners.

Vehicle emission standards are changing in these countries, Telang said, and this will impact demand for higher-performance lubricants. For example, a Euro 6 equivalent will be introduced in China and India in 2020. China will introduce the first phase of its China 6 automotive emissions standard in 2020. It’s considered stricter than Euro 6 and will be implemented in two phases, with the second phase coming in 2023. India is scheduled to implement its Bharat Stage VI automotive emissions standards in April 2020.

Indonesia plans to introduce the Euro 4 emissions standard nationwide for diesel vehicles by 2021. While its bio content for diesel fuel is currently mandated at 20 percent, the country is planning to increase it to 25 percent by 2020.

Telang noted that some governments outside of Asia have taken steps to ensure a required minimum API standard appropriate for modern diesel engines is in place. The Saudi Arabian Standards Organization has mandated minimum performance of API CH-4 for heavy-duty engine oils in that country since January 2018. In Brazil, the National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels has set a minimum standard of API CH-4 for all diesel engine lubricants sold after June 31, 2017.