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Shell opens its largest grease plant worldwide in China

Today, Shell celebrated the opening of its 18th grease plant
Mark Gainsborough Shell Executive Vice President Global Commercial and Zhuhai local official perform Hoi Gong (Dotting the Eye) ceremony at the opening event of Shell’s 18th Grease Manufacturing plant globally in Zhuhai

Mark Gainsborough Shell Executive Vice President Global Commercial and Zhuhai local official perform Hoi Gong (Dotting the Eye) ceremony at the opening event of Shell’s 18th Grease Manufacturing plant globally in Zhuhai

Shell’s newest grease plant, located in Zhuhai, China, will make a range of Lithium, Lithium Calcium and Lithium Complex greases used mainly in passenger cars and industrial bearing lubrication. The plant, Shell’s largest, has a production capacity of 30,000 tonnes of greases a year, with the potential to be expanded to 40,000 tonnes a year. It is primarily designed to meet China’s growing demand for greases.

The new grease plant’s opening ceremony was attended by Zhuhai Local Government Officials; senior Shell representatives; business partners and customers. Mark Gainsborough, Shell Executive Vice President for Shell Global Commercial, said: “I am pleased that we are starting off 2013 with this opening which builds on Shell’s strong heritage in the greases business. We have a track record as a pioneer in grease technology innovation, especially for extremely durable greases used in as high-speed trains, airplanes and racing cars.”

The function of grease, like all lubricants, is to protect equipment. What differentiates greases from lubricant oils is that greases stay in place – particularly important in bearings in joints. Grease can stay in place because it contains a thickener. 70 years ago, Shell pioneered and patented the Lithium-thickener technology. It is now the world’s most popular grease thickener.

Shell Lubricants brings world-class technological insight to its business having pioneered one of the most popular grease thickeners in the world today

Shell Lubricants brings world-class technological insight to its business having pioneered one of the most popular grease thickeners in the world today

Huibert Vigeveno, Executive Chairman of Shell Companies in China, said: "Shell is the number one international supplier of lubricants in terms of market share in China. By building Shell’s largest grease plant in China, we are able to be closer to our customers. 

China’s lubricants demand, including that for grease, is growing fast and we are committed to meeting our customers’ needs and serving them well.”

This Zhuhai grease plant’s opening follows on the heels of a series of Shell lubricants supply chain investments.  In the same complex in November 2009, Shell opened its largest operating lubricants blending plant in Asia (by volume) to supply southern China with mainstream lubricant products and in August 2011, Shell opened a state-of-the-art Lubricants Technical Service Centre. This provides technical, marketing and training support to lubricants customers and OEMs. 

Elsewhere in China, Shell announced in August 2012 that its plans to build one of Shell’s largest lubricants blending plant worldwide in Tianjin, near Beijing. Shell was the first international oil company to open a lubricants blending plant in Russia in October 2012. In November 2012, Shell announced plans to build its first lubricants oil blending plant in Indonesia.

Shell Lubricants Grease Plant Network


Shell Lubricants Global: Mary B. Walsh, + 3225089587; mary.walsh@shell.com

Shell China: Xiaoni Chen, +861065296099; xiaoni.chen@shell.com

A selection of supporting images (photos and video) is available on request.

Notes to editors

About Shell’s grease plant in Zhuhai

  • The plant will consist of a workshop - with four production lines - grease processing equipments, plant control system, pack filling lines and laboratory equipment and other associated facilities. It will also have a warehouse for storage of packed raw materials, packaging and finished products, bulk additive and base oil tanks, bulk finished products tanks and truck unloading facilities.

About Shell Greases

  • Shell sells greases under the Shell Gadus range, which includes multi-purpose greases that can help to simplify customers’ product inventory, as well as speciality greases such as polyurea synthetic products designed for the most severe, extreme-temperature and long-life applications, and a range of open-gear lubricants.

  • Shell has a network of 18 grease manufacturing plants in 15 countries; some are Shell-owned and some are joint ventures:

    • 10 in Asia Pacific: Zhuhai, Beijing (China), Yokohama, Kobe and Shimonoseki (Japan), Bangkok (Thailand), Manila (Philippines), Singapore (Singapore), Pusan (South Korea), Pinkenba (Australia)

    • 4 in the Americas: In Calgary (Canada), Bogota (Columbia), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Buenos Aires (Argentina)

    • 4 in Europe and Africa: Gent (Belgium), Berne (Switzerland), Derince (Turkey) and Durban (South Africa)

  • We are continually making investments in our grease plants around the world. In the past several years, we have invested in our plants in Asia, Europe and the Americas.  For example a new production line was added at the Belgian plant in 2010.

  • Shell has a long history of being a leader in technological innovation when it comes to grease. 70 years ago, Shell patented Lithium-thickener technology, which is now the world’s most popular grease thickener.  Today, Shell is a leader in the development of our advanced polyurea “T” thickener for modern and extremely demanding applications such as high-speed trains, airplanes and racing cars.

  • Shell works with a wide range of OEMs and has developed a number of “fill for life” greases designed for a wide variety of applications. Shell greases can be found in Ferrari Formula 1 race cars, trains around the world, including high-speed trains, Boeing aircraft. In Ferrari Formula 1 race cars, Shell Gadus is used as grease for the tripod driveshaft joints and roller bearings. Each bearing is precisely assembled before each Grand Prix and lubricated with a small amount of Shell Gadus. 

  • In 2012, the Kline and Company report on the global lubricants sector confirmed that Shell maintained its branded category and volume leadership positions during 2011 (“Global Lubricants Industry 2011: Market Analysis and Assessment”). Further Shell is the largest international lubricants supplier in Asia by sales volume and the number one international supplier of lubricants in terms of market share in China.

About greases

  • Greases are localised lubrication systems: the grease is self sealing, providing its own reservoir for the lubricant it contains. Lubrication prevents primarily moving parts from damaging each other, e.g. through metal-to-metal contact, while facilitating the intended movement. They further protect from dust, which causes wear and from moisture which can cause corrosion. Carefully maintained, the right grease can prolong the life of machinery, reduce breakdowns and minimise maintenance costs.

  • Greases are widely used across different sectors: about 60% of grease applications are industrial (manufacturing, metals, mining, and power) with 40% in transport (construction, fleets, passenger cars). Virtually every item of equipment requires grease lubrication.

  • Like lubricant oils, greases consist mainly of base oils and additives. The oil lubricates and the additives provide the additional performance characteristics (antiwear, anticorrosion, antioxidant, improved adhesiveness). Unlike lubricant oils greases contain a thickener, which keeps the grease in place.  This thickener is the product of a chemical reaction at the plant with the base oil and additive are after this solidified thickener.

  • In 2012, Kline estimated that 1,158 thousand tonnes of greases were sold globally in 2011, up from 1,122 thousand tonnes sold in 2010. In both years, the grease market is estimated at about 3% of the overall global lubricant demand.  The long-term trend is towards the increased usage of high performance greases.

About Shell Lubricants

The term ‘Shell Lubricants’ collectively refers to Shell Group companies engaged in the lubricants business. Shell sells a wide variety of lubricants to meet customer needs across a range of applications. These include consumer motoring, heavy-duty transport, mining, power generation and general engineering. Shell’s portfolio of lubricant brands includes Shell Helix, Shell Rimula, and Shell Spirax. We are active across the full lubricant supply chain. We manufacture base oils in eight plants, we blend base oils with additives to make finished lubricants in almost 70 plants, and we distribute market and sell lubricants in over 100 countries.

We have more experts talking to more customers than any other lubricants supplier. We have over 350 technical support specialists and 1,000 sales professionals working with customers every day. We offer a wide range of services in addition to our products, including Shell LubeMatch, a market leading online tool that matches lubricants to vehicles and equipments, and Shell LubeAnalyst, an early warning system that enables our business customers to monitor the condition of their equipment and lubricant, helping to save money on maintenance.

Shell’s world-class technology is applied in our products and technological collaborations. We have four leading lubricants research centres in Germany, the UK, the USA, and Japan (in a joint venture with Showa Shell) with more than 200 scientists and engineers dedicated to lubricants research and development.

We have 150 + patent series for lubricants, base oils and greases. One of the ways we push the boundaries of lubricant technology is by working closely with top motor racing teams such as Scuderia Ferrari and Penske Racing. These technical partnerships enable us to expand our knowledge of lubrication science and transfer cutting-edge technology from the racetrack to our commercial products.

Cautionary note

The companies in which Royal Dutch Shell plc directly and indirectly owns investments are separate entities. In this release “Shell”, “Shell group” and “Royal Dutch Shell” are sometimes used for convenience where references are made to Royal Dutch Shell plc and its subsidiaries in general.

Likewise, the words “we”, “us” and “our” are also used to refer to subsidiaries in general or to those who work for them. These expressions are also used where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular company or companies. ‘‘Subsidiaries’’, “Shell subsidiaries” and “Shell companies” as used in this release refer to companies in which Royal Dutch Shell either directly or indirectly has control, by having either a majority of the voting rights or the right to exercise a controlling influence.

The companies in which Shell has significant influence but not control are referred to as “associated companies” or “associates” and companies in which Shell has joint control are referred to as “jointly controlled entities”. In this release, associates and jointly controlled entities are also referred to as “equity-accounted investments”.

The term “Shell interest” is used for convenience to indicate the direct and/or indirect (for example, through our 23% shareholding in Woodside Petroleum Ltd.) ownership interest held by Shell in a venture, partnership or company, after exclusion of all third-party interest.

This release contains forward-looking statements concerning the financial condition, results of operations and businesses of Royal Dutch Shell. All statements other than statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements of future expectations that are based on management’s current expectations and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements.

Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements concerning the potential exposure of Royal Dutch Shell to market risks and statements expressing management’s expectations, beliefs, estimates, forecasts, projections and assumptions. These forward-looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as ‘‘anticipate’’, ‘‘believe’’, ‘‘could’’, ‘‘estimate’’, ‘‘expect’’, ‘‘intend’’, ‘‘may’’, ‘‘plan’’, ‘‘objectives’’, ‘‘outlook’’, ‘‘probably’’, ‘‘project’’, ‘‘will’’, ‘‘seek’’, ‘‘target’’, ‘‘risks’’, ‘‘goals’’, ‘‘should’’ and similar terms and phrases.

There are a number of factors that could affect the future operations of Royal Dutch Shell and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements included in this release, including (without limitation):

(a) price fluctuations in crude oil and natural gas; (b) changes in demand for Shell’s products; (c) currency fluctuations; (d) drilling and production results; (e) reserves estimates; (f) loss of market share and industry competition;

(g) environmental and physical risks; (h) risks associated with the identification of suitable potential acquisition properties and targets, and successful negotiation and completion of such transactions; (i) the risk of doing business in developing countries and countries subject to international sanctions; (j) legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments including potential litigation and regulatory measures as a result of climate changes; (k) economic and financial market conditions in various countries and regions;

(l) political risks, including the risks of expropriation and renegotiation of the terms of contracts with governmental entities, delays or advancements in the approval of projects and delays in the reimbursement for shared costs; and (m) changes in trading conditions.

All forward-looking statements contained in this release are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Additional factors that may affect future results are contained in Royal Dutch Shell’s 20-F for the year ended 31 December, 2011 (available at www.shell.com/investor and www.sec.gov - opens in new window).

These factors also should be considered by the reader. Each forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date of this release, 18 January 2013. Neither Royal Dutch Shell nor any of its subsidiaries undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other information.

In light of these risks, results could differ materially from those stated, implied or inferred from the forward-looking statements contained in this release. There can be no assurance that dividend payments will match or exceed those set out in this release in the future, or that they will be made at all.

We use certain terms in this release, such as resources, that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) guidelines strictly prohibit us from including in filings with the SEC. U.S. Investors are urged to consider closely the disclosure in our Form 20-F, File No 1-32575, available on the SEC website www.sec.gov - opens in new window. You can also obtain these forms from the SEC by calling 1-800-SEC-0330 

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