InterviewShell eyes strong growth in Asia lubes market – executive

07 October 2010 11:51  [Source: ICIS news]

By Anu Agarwal

Shell VP Tim FordSINGAPORE (ICIS)--Strong growth is back in the finished lubricants business across Asia on the back of the region’s robust production of automotives and other industrial goods, said an executive at petrochemical giant Shell on Thursday.

“We see very strong growth in China and indeed across all of Asia as automotive production and industrial exports are coming back,” said Tim Ford, Shell vice president for lubricants for Asia, in an interview.

China had overtaken the US as the world’s largest auto maker and auto market last year, having produced 13.79m units, with sales at 13.64m units, based on industry statistics.

Shell’s largest presence in the Asian lubricant market is in China, where it has six blending plants at various locations in the country, producing a total of some 600,000 to 700,000 tonnes/year of finished lubes at these facilities, Ford said.

Shell has a capacity to produce around 1.6m tonnes of finished lubricants across Asia, India and the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Ford is upbeat about Asia’s growing use of higher quality group II and III base oils.

“Demand is growing for lower viscosity and fuel efficient oils,” Ford said.

Ford said he does not expect a supply glut when Shell’s gas-to-liquid (GTL) facility in Qatar called “Pearl” starts up next year, citing that the market would be able to absorb new supply.

The Pearl GTL project would be produce more than 1m tonnes of group III base oils.

“We don’t see a crisis with increased group III supply with the start of Pearl,” Ford said.

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By: Anu Agarwal
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