UKLA President’s Report

Have lubricants reached a tipping point? To say that the lubricants market is in a state of flux at the present time would perhaps be an understatement.

An emerging International Fluids Consortium of OEMs is in the process of being established. Supported by appropriate lubricant expertise, the group is aiming to set standards for future specifications and replace those set by API, ACEA, JASO and ILSAC.

A new Southwest Research Institute project looking at gaining a better understanding of electric vehicles’ fluid requirements with OEMs will hopefully mean a step towards common and accepted industry standards for EV fluids.

Meanwhile Europe’s rationalisation of Group I plants continues with Total’s announcement of the permanent closure of Gonfreville. Base oil supply continues to be restricted with seven out of twenty-three refineries in

Texas still impacted by extreme weather conditions earlier this year at the time of writing, and planned outages at other base oil plants over the summer might mean that supply does not steady until the autumn.

In the UK we are getting to grips with life outside the European Union, with the application of the terms of the Free Trade agreement proving to be challenging in some areas such as Rules of Origin.

As we look forward to life returning to a post-vaccination normality over the summer, I hope that the lubricant market can weather the fiscal storms over recent months and once again become the bellwether for the economy it has always been.

Darren Frogson, UKLA President

UEIL President’s Report

As 2021 continues to unfold, there are several indications that present a positive outlook for the lubricant sector.

According to a recently published report – “Metal Global Market Report 2021: COVID 19 Impact and Recovery to 2030” - the global metal market is expected to grow from 2020 to 2021 at a compound annual growth rate of 6.6%, as a result of the COVID-19 recovery. This positive trend is expected to continue through 2025, with an estimated CAGR of 7%.

Positive signs for our industry also come from the automotive sector. The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) foresees that 2021 will mark a first step on the road to recovery, with sales rising by about 10% compared to that in 2020. ACEA expects that the positive trend observed for electrically- chargeable cars (including both full battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids) last year – with market share up to 10.5% from 3% – can continue, if supported by investments in charging and refueling.

The technological development and continued growth of electric vehicles will provide opportunities for the highly specialised and technologically advanced European lubricant industry to develop lubricants capable of handling the innovations that will change how EVs


(as well as autonomous EVs) are designed. The type of lubricants needed in the future could also change if ride-sharing grows, as ride-sharing vehicles will be used for a much higher portion of the day compared to private vehicles – which will make powertrain durability more important.

This is bound to have a major impact on lubricants’ requirements.

Maximising on opportunities which are currently arising in several industries will be key for the future growth and success of our sector.

That is why the theme of this year’s UEIL Annual Virtual Congress will be “From business resilience to sustainable growth - Re-imagining the future of the lubricants industry”. On October 20-21 2021 we will cover a wide variety of topics, from sustainable mobility to leadership in times of change. The full programme is available on the UEIL homepage.

I am looking forward to seeing you there to contribute together to the growth of our industry!

Valentina Serra-Holm, UEIL President

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