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ExMo Makes Big PCEO Changes
That's a Lot of Juice!
Lubrizol Beats the Street

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JOBBERSWORLD...MARKET INTELLIGENCE FOR INTELLIGENT MARKETERS

 

The First and Only Independent Newsletter to Focus on Lubricant Distributors.

Your needs, your concerns, your outlook. No bias, no fluff and no punches pulled. Whether it's buy backs or brand battles, allocation of co-op ads, operating costs or turf wars, Jobbers World keeps you on top of the issues that matter to YOU: The Lubricant Marketers!



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ExxonMobil Makes Big Changes to its PCEO Lineup  

What's New, and What's Next?

 

ExxonMobil will soon be on the streets with a new lineup of passenger car engine oils (PCEO). Where it seems like only a few years ago ExxonMobil introduced 5000, 7500 , 15000,  its new players on the PCEO field now wear the Mobil Super moniker. These products include:

 

  • Mobil Special: A product said to be an updated version of Mobil DriveClean.  This product will reportedly be ExxonMobil's primary competitor in the bulk oil business, and also available in package. It will meet or exceed Gf-5/API SN for ILSAC viscosity grades 5W-20, 5W-30, and 10W-30.  Also available in 10W-40, 20W-50, and Mongrade 30.
  • Mobil Super: Whereas Mobil 5000 is gone, Mobil Super, a "premium conventional" is positioned to provide 5,000 mile protection. The product reportedly contains 15% more cleaning additives than Mobil Special.
  • Mobil Super High Mileage: Formulated with seal conditioners and others to protect vehicles with over 75,000 miles.  This product is reportedly a synthetic blend.
  • Mobil Super Synthetic: Whereas Mobil 1 will remain the company's flagship "Advanced Full Synthetic" engine oil, Mobil Super Synthetic is positioned to compete more aggressively on price with other synthetics.

JobbersWorld has been told these new products are already in the pipeline.

 

But what's next - can we expect changes and shuffling in ExMo's commercial and industrial lubricants line that position the company to compete more aggressively in both the high- and mid-tiers of the synthetic lubricants market? And, what if ExxonMobil's new Super Synthetic PCEO is a smashing success? Is there enough Group III available in the merchant market in the short term to fuel rapid growth? Until Neste comes on line and when (and some ask "if') Shell's GTL plant starts to pump out base oil, Group III is tight. This will be a subject of a future JW issue.


 Chevron Pascagoula - That's a Lot of Juice!

By Thomas F. Glenn


As reported in the January 31, 2010 edition of JobbersWorld, Chevron will now commence construction of a lubricant base stock manufacturing facility at the company's Pascagoula, Mississippi refinery. The facility will manufacture 25,000 barrels-per-day of API Group II base oil. For those that don't think in barrels, this means Chevron's new plant will produce close to 350 million gallons of base oil a year. That's a lot of juice! In fact, it's enough to move Chevron from being one of the largest global net buyers of base oils, to the largest net seller.

 

One thing is for sure, Chevron's Pascagoula base oil facility will certainly impact United States supply and demand balance. With this, there will likely be significant fluctuations  in base stock prices, and a shakeup in suppliers. Think about it, Chevron's new facility will add close to 12% more capacity to the US pool of paraffinic base oil supply, as shown in Figure 1. In addition, it kicks in 19% more supply of API Group II base oils produced in the US, as shown in Figure 2.


 

 

The last time the US experienced a domestic increase in capacity closest to this magnitude occurred when Excel Paralubes announced in 1997 it would build a grass roots plant with a capacity of 18,000 barrel-per-day (now rated at 22,000 barrels-per-day).  At that time, the Excel plant added close to 10% additional capacity to the US base oil supply pool. Together with an expansion by Petro-Canada and the capacity creep of others, the US had a paraffinic base oil supply overhang approaching nearly 15% in 1997. Base oil prices quickly dropped as the market sought to correct for the over capacity. Several smaller base oil plants were closed because they did not have the economies of scale to compete, or the captive demand to justify investments in Group II.

 

These exits, together with decisions by others to install new technology and close Group I base oil plants, reduced the ranks of paraffinic base oil plants from 22 in 1991 to 15 in 2001. In addition, the closures reduced the number of Group I suppliers by six plants.

 

Although it's very unlikely history will repeat itself, since the number of base oil suppliers (particualry Group I) has already been significantly reduced and base oil is now very much a global market (where Chevron's Group II will find takers in Europe and some corners in South America), it's likely some of what happened when Excel Paralubes came on stream in 1997 will occur again. That is, the new capacity from Chevron's Pascagoula plant will result in a significant overhang in domestic supply which will in turn suppress pricing (short term) and challenge the existence of some of the high-cost producers in the US, and this time, likely even in Europe.


Lubrizol Beats the Street! 

Lubrizol posted fourth quarter profits well above Wall Street's expectations.


Lubrizol CEO James Hambrick said in a statement that the fourth quarter was "a good finish to another excellent year for revenues and earnings. Volumes for the quarter came in very close to plan, ahead of last year and in line with our historical quarterly volume trends."

 

Looking forward,  Hambrick said the company's earnings target for 2011 "places us on the proper trajectory to achieve our longer-term goal of $13.50 per share by 2013. We expect continuing, gradual economic recovery in 2011, so we are projecting a more moderate volume growth rate this year compared with 2010, which benefited from a strong rebound in several product lines."

 

As the economy improves, he said, "We expect commodity prices to rise and that will put pressure on raw materials. We have been seeing some of this, and we have already undertaken pricing action in both segments to address these cost increases. We will be diligent with our pricing throughout the year to ensure full recovery."


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