The on-going rationalization of Group I production across Europe has caused concern about shortages and the need to reformulate products.
Fears of Group I closures predate the recession, but it was once the European economic climate had started to improve that Group I production rationalization started becoming a reality in Western Europe, with 2015 seen as the year of transition.
”The transition creates opportunities,” says Simon Day, vice president of Nynas Naphthenics. ”During 2015, it is likely that over 1.5 million tonnes of Group I capacity will disappear from Western Europe, which is one-quarter of the region’s capacity.
The company decided early on to view the changing refinery landscape. ”Nynas decided to target all industrial applications in which Group I oils are traditionally used, but with special attention to applications where solvency is important and where it could be challenging to convert to Group II base oils,” says Valentina Serra-Holm, marketing director.
The company announced a new range of 12 oils, including Nybase 70/100/150/300/500/600 and the process oils Nyflex 3014/3022/3030/3060/3100/3120, which mimic key characteristics of the outgoing oils.
”One of our customers referred to our launch as the ’perfect strategic move at this point in time’,” says Serra-Holm.
The impending shortages will be most acutely felt in North Western Europe, according to Nynas.
”There is a certain degree of preoccupation with finding alternatives, because the Group I customers understand that nobody is safe,” says Serra-Holm. ”Even in the countries where there are no closures announced, customers are already experiencing a shortage of heavier grades – from 100 centistokes (cSt) and up – and they are testing replacements from the heavy side of the Nynas product portfolio.”