View From The Bridge - March 18

It's sometimes said that life is a "balancing act".  This is certainly true when it comes to the energy sector in general, and the lubricants industry in particular.

ExxonMobil's latest peek into their crystal ball reveals a complex challenge for the energy providers.  A balance between meeting global demand that could potentially double by 2040 as the world's population grows to a forecast nine billion, and reducing the level of resources and emissions involved in energy supply.

The good news, according to Exxon, is that a combination of technology and other drivers of energy efficiency are already starting to tip the balance in favour of using fewer resources to meet this increasing demand.  If this trend continues from 2016, the net result is predicted to be an increase of just 25% in global demand by 2040.

As I've stated before, the lubricants industry has a strong role to play in this balancing act.  The fact that Shell, for example, is investing heavily in production and distribution infrastructure for fuel and lubes in Russia and China, is one clear (and unsurprising) indication of where key market growth is likely to come from over the next decade or so.  India, of course, being the other single national source of major demand.

In supplying these markets, the biggest challenge for all producers will be developing high-performance, synthetic, regulatory-compliant lubricants for rapidly expanding new vehicle parcs, while maintaining stocks of compliant products to service large parcs of what can best be described as "mature but still highly active" vehicles.

Naturally, I believe accurate lubes specification databases will play an increasingly important role in helping to meet this challenge. Not only will they allow producers, OEMs and the aftermarket sector track these markets, but detailed analysis of data usage - such as "what oil?" look-up - could be significant in influencing output and marketing strategies.

Recognising our role in this global balancing act is the motivation for OATS' business. To understand how OATS products and services could help your organisation, or to discuss any items in this our Bulletin, simply contact us via e-mail.

Peter van der Galiën and the OATS team.