Shell Lubricants (“Shell”) has topped the list of the world’s leading lubricants suppliers for the fifth year running, according to new research into the global lubricants market. The research, conducted by Kline & Company* (“Kline”), gives Shell more than 13% of the market by volume in 2010 and a two per cent lead over its nearest competitor.
Mark Gainsborough, Shell’s Head of Lubricants, said: “Five years at the top is a remarkable achievement. It shows that our consistent strategy of focusing on leading technology and strong customer relationships has served us well. Shell has more than 200 research and development staff working in lubricants technology, more than 300 front line technical advisers and over 1000 sales professionals, all tasked with providing competitive solutions for our customers. Without question, their success is central to our continued growth and brand leadership.”
As well as maintaining its leadership position in 2010 on an overall volume basis, Shell also leads in the branded lubricants category. Mark Gainsborough said Shell’s distinctive approach to selling lubricants through distributors was paying dividends: “In 2010 we more than doubled average distributor volumes compared to 2009. The exceptional support we give to our distributors, coupled with strong staff development, is very difficult for our competitors to copy.”
Global demand for lubricants as a whole grew by around 6% over 2009 – indicating a slight recovery from recession. According to Kline, the Asia-Pacific region continued to show the most robust volume growth in 2010, benefiting from the shift in automotive production. Shell achieved strong volume growth in China, maintaining its lead as the top international supplier.
The US was the largest single market in terms of lubricant volume demand – accounting for 23% of global consumption in 2010 (down from 25% in 2009). Shell maintained its leadership position in the US lubricants market with more than 11% share by volume.
Looking ahead, Kline forecast slow growth for the market as a whole but identified opportunities at country and product level. The strongest growth is predicted to come from the BRIC countries plus South Korea, with China as “the growth engine” of the industry.
Demand for lubricants in China is projected to grow by 5% between 2010 and 2020. Over the same period, Kline predicts that lubricant demand in India will grow at between 3% and 5%.
The annual research study also highlighted increasing demand for synthetic lubricants which help end users improve energy efficiency and prolong equipment life.
Mark Gainsborough said: “Shell is well positioned to make the most of growth opportunities and sustain our market leadership position. Last month we reached a significant milestone when the first shipment of base oil left the Pearl GTL plant in Qatar. At full capacity this plant will provide one of the world’s largest sources of high quality base oil, giving us unrivalled access to Group III base oil for use in our premium and synthetic lubricants.
“In Russia we will shortly open our Torzhok blending plant – the first to be built by an international oil company in that country. The plant is set to be one of the largest in the Shell network worldwide, enabling us to grow faster and compete on an equal footing with local lubricants suppliers.
“And in China we recently opened a state-of-the-art technical services centre in Zhuhai. The centre will provide comprehensive lubricating solutions to customers in the automobile, shipping and power industries.”
Source: shell, November 3, 2011