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October 7, 2015

Volume 17 Issue 52

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Petronas Builds R&D Center in Italy

Malaysia’s Petronas Lubricants International is building what it claims will be the largest lubricant research and development center in Europe – an 80,000 square meter facility in Turin, Italy.

Part of the heritage FL Selenia business that Petronas acquired seven years ago, the Turin center is scheduled to open in 2017. Officials describe it as the centerpiece of a strategy to boost PLI’s global network of R&D facilities.

In a recent interview with Lubes’n’Greases magazine, PLI CEO Amir Hamzah Azizan said the the company is spending €50 million to construct the center and to outfit it with multiple test cells to conduct fuel economy tests, emissions analysis and other tests in a variety of engines.

Once the project is complete, the Turin lab will become PLI’s Global Technology Center. The company has satellite labs in four other countries – China, the United States, Brazil and South Africa.

PLI has sought to incorporate Selenia’s business model, which was based upon cooperating with original equipment manufacturers to develop lubricants for their vehicles and equipment in order to win factory fill contracts and aftermarket replacement recommendations. “In 2008, the chance to purchase [Italy’s] FL Selenia came and we bought it. It gave us a decent footprint and was already big in Europe with a decent size in Latin America,” Azizan said.

PLI is also investing in manufacturing capacity in Asia’s biggest lubricant markets. By the end of this year the company plans to open a blending plant in Mumbai with capacity of 60,000 metric tons per year. It is also expanding a plant in Shandong province, China, which should have capacity of 150,000 t/y when the project is finished in 2017.