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December 16, 2015

Volume 17 Issue 52

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Bolivia Polices Lubricants Quality

Bolivia’s National Hydrocarbons Agency began lubricant quality control operations last month, sampling and testing lubricants in mobile laboratories to ensure that products meet government standards.

The agency, known by its Spanish acronym as ANH, conducted tests of lubricants from 338 service stations across Bolivia, and seized 617 liters from an unidentified importer for failing onsite tests, ANH technical director Northon Torrez said in a written statement. The agency vowed to continue making spot checks in order to protect the public from substandard lubes.

“There are multi-grade and mono-grade lubricants, which are used in private and public transport, vehicles for farming, heavy transport and others, and the decree orders us to monitor the quality of the lubricants that these vehicles use, to extend the life of their parts,” he added, referring to a February 2013 government decree authorizing the ANH to regulate the production, distribution and merchandising of lubricants and fuels manufactured or imported into the country.

In Bolivia, importers and distributors of lubricants must issue a sworn statement to the government proving that their products fulfill the standards of quality, a spokeswoman for ANH told Lube Report. All lubricants imported into the country, including base oils, must pass ANH’s basic assessment to make sure they meet the decree’s parameters. A technical sheet detailing the performance values of lubricants is also required from the importer or manufacturer of the lubricants.

The ANH spokeswoman also mentioned that quality control operations are conducted at random, without providing notice to the manufacturers or distributors. Two test samples are taken from the site, and one is submitted to a basic analysis in the mobile laboratory. If there is a breach in any of the standards, the second sample can be either transferred to a facility of state-run oil company Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos for treatment, or sent to an accredited laboratory for thorough testing.

The decree mandates that lubricants in Bolivia follow American Petroleum Institute standards for engine and manual transmission oils; from original equipment manufacturers like Ford, General Motors and truck-maker Allison for automatic transmission oils; from the National Lubricating Grease Institute for automotive greases, and from the International Standards Organization for industrial oils.

The minimum grade standard for gasoline engine oils is API SG, and for diesel engines, it is CF-4 through CF. Manual transmission oils must have a GL-4 or GL-5 grade, while automatic transmission fluids are Dexron III for GM vehicles, Mercon for Ford and C-4 for Allison trucks.

Industrial oils follow the standards of ISO depending on its viscosity index, and automotive greases follow the NLGI standards for their LA, LB, LC, GA, GB and GC grades.