National V standards to fast-forward base oil grade improvements

Despite not coming to force nationally until 2018, new Chinese standards are already having an impact on lubes quality

Shanghai, which brought forward National V standards by more than four years, will likely also bring about a change in the base oil and auto markets, claims Sinolub. Although many lubricants products will still be up to standard for some time, automakers look likely to bypass National IV standards and design their models to the highest available specification at the time.

The new standards will see more consumption of higher quality base oils and a move away from mineral oils towards more synthetic products. Chinese plants are rapidly developing Group II production capabilities, but are still some way off. Domestically, Group II refining is handled by a very few refining companies, such as Shanghai Gaoqiao Petrochemicals, Daqing Refining and CNOOC.

Low-grade lubricants are likely to be fazed out of the market place. Products carrying CC, CD and SF specs look set to give way to more advanced grades such as CF-4, CH-4, SJ and SM. Furthermore, multi-grade oils that meet a wide array of specifications should also steal greater market share from more basic oils.