View From the Bridge - July 18

View From the Bridge July 18

The lubricants industry faces pressures from all sides - as I've pointed out several times in recent bulletins.  But it is also good to see the industry collaborating both internally and externally to overcome the challenges and even help to improve regulations.

For example, China's oil producers are working as part of the Chinese Lubricant Specification Development Alliance to create lubes specs that are appropriate for regional demand and the products created to meet them.  Given the maturity of the nation's own diesel engine manufacturers, it's perhaps unsurprising the Alliance has chosen to focus the spotlight initially on the heavy duty end of specification testing.

There have also been plenty of compliments paid to the automakers - in particular Toyota - for providing engines and technical support to aid ACEA's work in updating its European lubes sequences.  While it is in the vehicle makers' interests as much as those of the lubes producers, the sharing of data and technological expertise between supplier and client will always produce better outcomes for all parties - including, of course, the end user.

One 'collaboration' - by way of a purchase - which has raised some eyebrows, is BP's acquisition of UK-based Chargemaster, suppliers of the UK's largest Electric Vehicle charging network, Polar.

Although this is not the first move BP has made into the EV infrastructure, having previously bought US-based FreeWire Technologies Inc., it is potentially a more significant statement of intent.  With Shell having already launched its own UK forecourt charging units, it will be interesting to see how the oil majors' relationship with EVs develops over the coming years.  Not least because infrastructure looks to be behind the curve of global EV purchase.

Meanwhile, Shell has been raising eyebrows in the marketing world for more controversial reasons after asking a very public question regarding the CF-4 compliance credentials of one of ExxonMobil's products.  ExxonMobil has been quick to refute its rival's claims but this has certainly stimulated debate throughout the industry. Not least, as to whether there should be more comparison marketing undertaken.

The data and materials that drive lubricants marketing strategies are regular topics of conversations here at OATS and we are always happy to explain how OATS products and services could help your organisation - although we'll leave the message development to you!  To explore those opportunities, or discuss any items in this Bulletin, simply contact us via e-mail.

Peter van der Galiën and the OATS team.