The lubricants industry is clearly set to face some political challenges over the next few years. But, the politics in question are environmental and technical, rather than economic or security related.
The drive to protect the environment, by reducing the consumption and burning of fossil fuels, is a double-edged sword when it comes to the lubricants sector. On the one hand, increasingly rigorous technical standards across Europe and around the world are taking the skills and knowledge of tribologists to new levels.
The result is evermore sophisticated products that are helping to reduce friction and wear, while increasing the mechanical efficiency of every type of engine or component that requires lubrication.
On the other hand, the almost desperate acceleration of national legislation by some of the world’s largest nations – in particular China – to reduce emissions and push the alternative fuel agenda will certainly have a direct impact on lubricants consumption, particularly automotive.
Depending on which report or set of statistics you choose to believe, the impact on the global lubes market from the development of Electric Vehicles (EVs) may happen sooner or later and be a rapid or gradual process that creates a ‘new normal’ for consumption levels.
However the numbers play out, there is no doubt the lubricants industry will change. As manufacturers like Toyota and VW re-consider their strategy for, or boost production of, electric vehicles, so their supplier infrastructure will have to consider products that will support these decisions. After all, EVs are still constructed using components that need new lubrication.
In recent years we have seen the lubricants industry forming part of the solution to the OEMs’ emissions challenges and long may this continue. In the meantime, having a clear view of global markets – such as Russia – will also be vital for lubes producers and their marketing departments.
OATS is working hard to ensure that both oilcos and OEMs have the best possible intelligence to help face these ongoing challenges, continuing our drive to provide the most relevant and timely specification data available and work collaboratively to meet the needs of a continually changing marketplace.
To find out more about OATS products and services simply contact us via e-mail. Alternatively, you can join us on the HaynesPro stand at the Automechanika Show in Birmingham from 6-9 June 2017. The coffee is guaranteed to be as hot at the global oil and lubricants topics we are likely to be discussing with you! We look forward to seeing you there.
Peter van der Galiën and the OATS team.