International standards lacking locally

5th February 2021 By: Khutso Maphatsoe - journalist

Lubricants distributor OILY SA’s offering is comparable to that of other major oil companies, such as oil industry company Shell, petroleum refining company Total and independent lubricants manufacturer Fuchs, and has found that the quality standards of locally manufactured lubricants is inferior when compared with international standards, highlights OILY SA CEO Viesturs Zalaiskalns.

In the South African lubricants market, OILY SA is the official importer of Russian oil major Gazpromneft-Lubricants – one of the largest oil companies globally offering lubricants under Gazpromneft and the G-Energy brand of the Italian origin.

Zalaiskalns points out that a portion of South Africa’s oil and lubricants industry comprises South African independent lubricant blenders that produce different oils and lubricants catering for high-volume customers in the freight, mining and automotive industries.

Independent lubricant blenders usually buy base oil from major oil companies, as they do not have their own refineries. The lubricant blenders combine these oils with additives to make lubricants and provide them to various end-user industries such as industrial and automotive.

Imports from other countries help to meet domestic demand for lubricants.

“South African independent blenders are not regulated even by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), hence international importers are not driven to be SABS-approved because their standards are aligned to global requirements set out by the American Petroleum Institute or European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

“The SABS, in collaboration with industry body the South African Institute of Tribology, should take the initiative to set the standards for South African independent lubricant blenders,” explains Zalaiskalns.

He notes that the company’s offering is “highly competitive”, compared with the offering of local oil blending companies, as customers choose products based on the technical specifications of the product and the price.

“In the case of locally blended products, our manufacturing standards far exceed those of local blenders at a comparable price, putting us in a strong position when compared to our competitors within the South African lubricants market.”