EDITOR INTERVIEW In conversation with... David Hopkinson, Head of the UK Delegation to the UEIL, CEO Multisol Group

Congratulations on your appointment as Head of the UK Delegation. What does your role entail? UKLA has been a member of UEIL for many years. The UEIL association has its own board of directors and president to coordinate and report back to their own member associations on the activities of various UEIL committees, including the Technical and Competition committee (T&C), the Health, Safety and Environment Committee and other ad-hoc committees, such as the Sustainability task force. As Head of the UK Delegation, my role is to represent the UKLA on the Board of UEIL, to oversee the work of the UKLA within the UEIL committees, and to report back to the UKLA Board and UKLA members on UEIL’s activities and plans.

How important is this role and how, if at all, will it change, now that the UK has left the EU? The simple answer is not that much will change. One of UEIL’s leading roles is to represent the lubricants industry across the EU. The UK lubricants market is the 2nd largest in Europe, so it’s in UEIL’s interests to maintain and encourage UKLA’s active participation. Also, the vast majority of UKLA member companies export into other European countries, so we need to be aware of EU regulations and requirements.

Our members will continue trading in the EU. We must maintain some influence through UEIL who value not just the scale and participation of the UK market and its businesses, but also the high calibre expertise, experience and contributions UKLA individuals bring to UEIL committee discussions.

What key issues will you focus on during your tenure?

Sustainability will be key. It’s important the lubricants industry is seen as part of the solution, not part of the problem, to environmental concerns. We have a huge role to play in reducing fuel consumption and preventing energy that is lost. I will continue to encourage this, along with representing UKLA members’ interests in health and safety and other


bread and butter issues addressed by the committees: the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation (MVBER), EU Green Deal, EU Tax Directive, Group ll quotas, access to technical information, to name a few.

How can our sector, a tiny, niche part of the massive oil industry, make a significant difference in the greener world challenge? The world needs lubricants. Without lubricants, nothing turns and nothing moves. We need to encourage member companies, blenders, suppliers, affiliated service companies and related organisations to ensure their product marketing is clear, emphasising the environmental benefits we can bring, whilst in the background we continue to quietly develop high calibre basestocks, additives, finished lubes, specialty products and greases, to meet the challenge of growing emissions and fuel economy requirements.

How do you see the future for the lubricants industry? There are challenges obviously, particularly with the growing electrification of the car parc, but the long term future is bright.

Two years ago about 75 million new cars came onto the market (of which 1 million were electric, 74 million were not). These cars will continue to need lubricants for at least 15-20 years. As will trucks, buses, off-highway transportation, marine and aviation, in addition to industrial lubricants. Electric vehicles will still require lubricants and the requirements for higher quality lubricants will continue to rise.


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