Latin America could offer rich pickings for synth lubes

Encouraging news for the Latin American market from the latest ICIS conference.

Reporting on the conference at the end of 2017, held in New Jersey, Lube Report cited statistics and analysis from Lubrizol's Yair Rodriguez, Chevron Oronite's Davi Santos and Petronas' Guilherme de Paula as demostration that Latin America is emerging as a strong market for the latest automotive lubricants.

The overall message is that there is still a long way to go.  Despite the two biggest local markets - Brazil and Mexico - facing challenging targets to meet their Paris Climate Agreement commitments by the end of the next decade, according to reported API statistics, only 21% of current Passenger Car Motor Oil demand across the continent is for the latest API specification products. The majority of the market is still made up of older SL and now obsolete SG and SH categories.

The good news, according to the experts, is that the Latin American market is growing exponentially, with the vehicle parc expected to double within the next five years.  That means new, or newer, vehicles with consequently boosted demand for higher-performance, lower-viscosity fully or semi-synthetic lubes. This not only applies to passenger cars, but heavy-duty vehicles as well.

The trend also has the potential to boost the region's base oil markets with increased demand for higher Group products, particularly Group III. The outcome could be a reduction in base oil import costs to Latin American countries.