PARSIPPANY, N.J., Nov. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- As a result of slow economic growth in some Asian economies, as well as in Europe, and expanding synthetics penetration and longer oil drain intervals on a global basis, the global finished lubricant demand is down by 1.4% in 2015, finds Kline's recently published Global Lubricants: Market Analysis and Assessment report. Consumer automotive is the driving force in almost all of the key lubricants-consuming markets as new vehicle sales are forecast to remain strong.
Rankings among the top three global players remain stable, with Shell celebrating its 10th consecutive year as the #1 supplier of finished lubricants. John Abbott, Shell Downstream Director, said, "In an environment where competition continues to be tough, this is a tremendous achievement for the Shell Lubricants business. Our success has been underpinned by our customer-focused approach, continuous product and service innovation, technology leadership, brand investment and a strong team. We have also consistently invested in upgrading and growing our world-class supply chain, to align with global demand patterns. Our future focus will continue to build on close customer and industry collaborations. These will deliver innovative and integrated product and service solutions to meet changing customer needs and opportunities that the energy transition brings." George Morvey, Industry Manager, Energy at Kline, said, "Despite a generally flat market and growing competition from national oil companies, independents, and OEM genuine products, Shell has managed to defend its positions in all three market segments and retain its leading market share." Kline analysis showed that Shell edged out ExxonMobil, its largest competitor, in 2006 via the acquisition of a 75% share in Beijing Tongyi Petroleum Chemical Company Ltd. and Xianyang Tongyi Petroleum Company Ltd., which together produced and marketed China's leading independent lubricant brand. Since then, Shell has accomplished many strategic moves to consolidate its dominance. The gap between the leading market of the United States and China has been shrinking. However, in 2015, this divide widens due to the contraction in China in the commercial automotive and industrial oils and fluids market segments, as well as the relative stability in the United States. Europe is third to Asia-Pacific and North America, continuing to be the largest market for high quality and high performance lubricants as measured by the penetration of synthetics and low viscosity engine oils. Despite that, European share in global lubricant demand has declined. Lubricant formulators face a future with reducing API Group I basestock supply, which will also affect the availability of heavy neutrals and brightstocks. Kline estimates that, even with limited new capacity additions, the brightstock market will experience a potential deficit of at least 6.0 KBD by 2025. An increasing Group II/II+, III/III+ supply will affect how products are formulated. Due to reduced Group I availability, increased Group II supply, a marketing push from Group II suppliers, and supply chain cost savings for blenders (lower tankage etc.), Group II has penetrated into a number of automotive formulations not needing Group II (non-API oils), as well as industrial products, such as hydraulic fluid, gear oil, and turbine oil.