View From The Bridge - Jan 19

Welcome to the first View From The Bridge of the  year and the chance to wish all of you a very happy and successful 2019.  For our Chinese readers, xin nian kuai le and gong xi fa cai when it comes in February.

As we face the challenges of another year - and head rapidly towards a new decade - most legislators and analysts are looking even further ahead.  The latest models proposed by the International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook make interesting reading, particularly the Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS).

Unsurprisingly, the overall prediction is a reduction in oil consumption, particularly in the transport sectors, to 2040 after a demand peak in the early 2020s. However, the SDS model shows a much more nuanced picture - one in which lubes and fuel producers will need to work more closely with refiners to meet the supply and demand of more sophisticated petrochemical products.  This isn't just the result of tougher emissions and other environmental regulations, but also because of a more balanced portfolio of energy sources and continued development of refining technology.

That said, environmental legislation isn't making life any easier for automanufacturers. Both in China and Europe, the spotlight has now turned on heavy-duty diesel trucks as tougher emission rules start to bite.  The China VI rules are being implemented at pace and this will have a significant impact on new truck development and, of course, the fuels and lubes that go with them.  Meanwhile, European trade body ACEA is urging EU regulators to find a realistic balance between implementation of the first heavy-duty emissions targets and R&D time for manufacturers to complete drivetrain development. ACEA is also fighting battles on the car front as the EU announces its latest car emissions targets, which have divided regulators, environmentalists and national governments alike.

In a technically-heavy Bulletin this month, we also explore the challenges facing car wheel bearing grease tests; examine the latest developments in the EV world and  welcome a new partnership between Shell and Indian home-service operation, Pitstop.

OATS is already starting the year as we mean to continue: enhancing our lubricants databases and developing our products. We are rolling-out two products - Cross-Reference and Document Manager - to more customers through our Fusion Portal platform and you can read more about them in the Bulletin. We are also developing our analytic offering and will be present at the F&L conference in Singapore in the first week of March, showing an example of what we can deliver. For those who will be there, I hope to meet you.

As always, you can contact us via e-mail or call us on +44 (0)1793 616138.

Mike Skypala and the OATS team.