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March 9, 2016

Volume 17 Issue 52

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Petronas Relocates Argentina Blending Plant

Petronas Lubricants International last month began construction of a blending plant in the Ezeiza Industrial Park in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where it will relocate its existing operation in the South American country.

Guilherme Rodrigues de Paula, regional head of Latin America for PLI, said in a press release that the relocation is being done to allow the company to “strengthen its supply chain and logistics footprint, and increase production capacity to support the growing Latin American lubricants demand.”

The plant is being built on a site of 33,000 square meters and will have capacity to produce between 22,100 and 31,000 metric tons per year, up from 13,300 t/y at its current plant. The facility is expected to open by the second half of 2017, and will supply neighboring countries with lubricants for passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

According to PLI, growing middle and upper classes in Brazil and Argentina – and increased number of young workers – have raised income levels in the continent, which has spurred demand for passenger cars. “Within the South American automotive industry, Brazil and Argentina dominate as producers and exporters for passenger cars, with Argentina second only after Brazil,” a spokeswoman for PLI told Lube Report.

This trend in the South American automotive industry has also attracted carmakers to the market. “This new wave of OEM investment in new manufacturing, coupled with the governments’ innovative approach to attract global automotive players, is simultaneously creating and capitalizing on growing consumer demand,” she said.

PLI is the lubricant arm of Petronas, Malaysia’s national oil corporation. Established in 2008 and headquartered in Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur, PLI manufactures and markets automotive and industrial lubricants to over 80 countries.

PLI’s operations in Latin America are headquartered in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, site of a blending plant and a research center focused on commercial vehicle lubricants. In 2014, PLI upgraded the facilities at Belo Horizonte and recorded production of 120,300 t/y of lubricants. The regional business exports to over 15 countries in Latin America, and has distributors in Chile, Colombia and Peru.