Marine lubricants industry faces low brightstock future - Infineum

13 October 2010 15:53  [Source: ICIS news]

DUBAI (ICIS)--Obtaining sufficient quantities of brightstock will become a problem for marine lubricant manufacturers once shipping markets recover from a protracted downturn, an industry executive said on Wednesday.

Sylvain Leblanc, Infineum’s global marine business manager, said the industry was only beginning to address the expected shortage of brightstock, which is produced in Group I base oil refining and is particularly suited for application in marine lubricants.

Leblanc was addressing delegates at the 7th ICIS Middle Eastern Base Oils & Lubricants conference.

Earlier presentations at the conference highlighted the ongoing shift in base oil production away from Group I towards Groups II and III, which are in greater demand for use in lubricants for increasingly sophisticated vehicle engines.

Speakers predicted that Group I base oils plants would shut down as new Group II and III production came on stream in the next five years.

Leblanc said Group I base oil production was the only practical route to brightstock at present. He said some companies were exploring different ways to replace the need for brightstock in marine lubricants, including the use of polyisobutene and viscosity modifiers, but none of these had solved the problem.

He added that any new formulations would have to win approval from marine engine manufacturers.

He estimated that brightstock accounted for 15-20% by volume of the 2.2m tonnes of marine lubricants consumed annually.

Leblanc said different segments of the marine lubrication market had declined by 10-20% in volume in 2009 and that recovery to 2008 levels was expected only in 2012-13.

($1 = €0.72)

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By: James Mills
+44 208 652 3214

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