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Conferences: India & Europe play catch-up as Japan goes ultra-low

OATS data shows surge in Indian demand for higher-spec lubes as Japan reveals its new ultra-low specification.

With two major conferences just weeks apart, there was plenty to discuss in terms of local, regional and global lubricants trends.

At a busy 25th Anniversary Fuel and Lubricants Asia Conference, OATS took the opportunity to showcase its lubricants data analytics with a comparison of the Indian passenger car and van market against European consumption.

The results made interesting reading as India showed a significant increase in demand for higher quality API SL, SM and SM specifications in the 15 years from 2002-17.  Use of lower-spec API SG lubes started to show a noteable decrease in 2005, with a significant boost of higher-grade products from 2010 as increased GDP - and thus a wealthier population - saw European and Asian OEMs strengthening their market presence.

Europe, over the same 15 years, showed a more mature market - governed by increasingly stricter emision standards and OEM specfication demands.  However, the message for lubes producers is certainly clear, particularly as India is set to overtake China as an overall oil consumer: now is a very good time to be introducing low viscosity, high-grade products.

Meanwhile, the 23rd ICIS World Base Oils & Lubricants Conference in London revealed further interesting news.  As India moves towards current specifications, Japan is set to adopt the next generation of ultra-low viscosity motor oils under the Japanese Automotive Standards Organisation's (JASO) GLV-1 spec, reportedly due to come to market in October.

With the country's major automakers now recommending SAE 0W-12 and OW-8 oils for some of their new models, not even ILSAC's yet-to-be-launched GF-6 will cover viscosity grades that low. As a result, JASO has been left to set its own national specification to meet the OEM and lubes industrys' latest technology.

The ICIS conference also revealed Europe having to play catch-up in base oil interchange and viscosity grade read-across guidelines. According to Lubes'n'Greases, industry groups are working to re-write the two-decade-old guidelines which supplement lubricant specifications to enable lubes producers to make formula adjustments without incurring significant re-testing costs.  Unsurprisingly, a great deal has changed in both base stocks and engine oils in 20 years, leaving the read-across data badly in need of an upgrade.

Tags: Asia, Europe, India, Japan, Lubes tech, Lubricants

Published 18th March, 2019

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