Industry News

  • STLE Elects Paul Hetherington from Petro-Canada Lubricants as 2020-2021 President

    The Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE) — the technical society serving individuals, companies and organisations that comprise the tribology and lubrication engineering business sector — has announced that Paul Hetherington, CLS, manager, technical services, Canada, for Petro-Canada Lubricants Inc., and former treasurer, secretary and vice president of STLE, will assume the role of 2020-2021 president effective immediately for a one-year term.

    In his new role, Hetherington will serve as the principal executive officer of the society and as chairman of its board of directors. Joining him on the STLE Executive Committee are Vice President Ken Hope, Ph.D. (Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LP), Secretary Ryan Evans, Ph.D. (The Timken Company), Treasurer Hong Liang, Ph.D. (Texas A&M University), Immediate Past President Michael Duncan, Ph.D. (Daubert Chemical Company Inc.) and STLE Executive Director Edward P. Salek.

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  • Nynas exits US sanctions

    The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) announced today that Nynas is no longer being blocked pursuant to the Venezuela Sanctions Regulations. As a result of a corporate restructuring of the ownership of Nynas AB sanctions are lifted, and US persons and companies no longer require an authorization from OFAC to engage in transactions or activities with Nynas AB. As a consequence, general license GL 13E is removed.

    “This means an end to many years of having to carry the unfair burden for a Swedish company of being subject to US sanctions. This led to an increasingly deteriorating financial situation, which ultimately forced Nynas into reorganisation at the end of last year”, says Nynas President Bo Askvik.

    “Our focus now is to successfully end the ongoing reorganisation process and having exited sanctions Nynas will be able to return to normal trading conditions and secure long-term financing.”

    As Nynas now is out of sanctions, financing is available to secure necessary crude oil purchases going forward.

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  • European Biocidal Products Forum

    The Cross-Industry Alliance on COVID-19 is making available a practical guide aiming at supporting industry and authorities to ensure sufficient supply of disinfectants to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

    At the initiative of A.I.S.E. (the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products), EBPF (the European Biocidal Products Forum, a sector group of CEFIC) and FECC (the European Association of Chemical Distributors), a Cross-Industry Alliance on COVID-19 was created. The main objective of the alliance is to provide industry with faster access to the relevant information, helping them to ensure that the authorities, medical facilities and the public all have enough supply of valuable disinfectants in this time of need.

    Under the umbrella of the alliance, a practical guide has been developed with the voluntary contribution of CEHTRA (Consultancy for Environmental & Human Toxicology and Risk Assessment), and the law firms Fieldfisher (Belgium) LLP and Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

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  • Lube Power 50

    Who do YOU think are the 50 most influential people currently working in the lubricants industry?

    Lube magazine would love to hear from you. Send us your 3 nominations of the people you feel deserve to be in the Lube Power 50 List.

    We will be revealing and interviewing the industry’s key movers and shakers later this year in Lube magazine.

    Criteria for eligibility

    • Nominees must currently be employed in the lubricants industry.
    • They can be based anywhere in the world and must represent the lubricant sector within their role. Readers can nominate candidates from their own company or externally.
    • Employees of the UKLA or Lube magazine, their family or relations are not eligible to nominate.

    Rank your Top 3 nominees in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place order and tell us why you think they should be on the Lube Power 50 List.

    To enter, send your nominations via email to lube@ukla.org.uk or do so via our online form in the link below. Nominations must be received by 30th April 2020. All nominations will be treated in the strictest confidence.

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  • A Message from the UEIL President

    Dear Friends,

    We are facing an unprecedented time of uncertainty and confusion.

    When I was in London for the ICIS conference I truly believed that the worst of the coronavirus was over, as we were seeing the first signs of a slowing down in China. I would never have believed that now, less than a month later, I would find myself wondering when I would be able to visit my family and friends in Italy and constantly fearing for their well-being.

    This situation also made me realise that I had taken for granted the essential role that travelling plays in my life – both on a personal and professional level. I always thought that it didn’t matter where I was in the world, because everybody and everything was just a flight away. The outbreak of the coronavirus is showing us how vulnerable we really are.

    I personally believe that the best we can do right now is to undertake any reasonable measure to protect our colleagues, our friends, and our community at large, and do our best to make sure that our companies and our industry navigate this challenging period in the best possible way (for some it seems that the best thing to do right now is to stock gigantic quantities of toilet paper – but then again, we all have different priorities).

    While several countries are closing borders to contain the spread, I am witnessing the amazing power of friendship and solidarity that reaches across borders. I have received messages from all over the world, which proved once again what a great community the lubricant industry is – from Asia to the US, from South America to many European countries. Messages checking up on how I was, if my relatives in Italy were OK, but also many messages just telling me to stay safe and keep in touch until we can meet and be together again.

    It is the strength of interpersonal relationships, the energy, the positivity, and the resilience that emanates from these messages that makes me believe that, in spite of the difficult time we are going through, we will emerge from this situation stronger than ever, as individuals and as an industry.

    Valentina Serra-Holm
    President, UEIL 

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  • Women in the Lubricants Industry Conference

    Held at the Institute of Directors in London on 11th March, the first UKLA/Lube magazine Women in the Lubricants Industry Conference was designed to explore professional development and leadership strategies with a focus on the women who work in this male dominated sector.

    Built around an innovative programme of presentations, discussions and inspirational speakers, including Dr Valentina Serra-Holm (UEIL President; VP Global Product Marketing, Calumet Specialty Products), Jane James (Chevron Senior Advisor, Corporate Affairs) and motivational speaker, Mandy Hickson, former RAF squadron leader and jet fighter pilot, the day examined many of the key issues affecting our industry, stimulating lively debate among the seventy or so delegates, both men and women, who attended.

    You can read the full report of the conference in the April 2020 edition of Lube Magazine, and a gallery of images from the day are available to view in the link below.

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  • Industry events rescheduled over Coronavirus concerns

    On the 11th March the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the viral infection COVID-19 a pandemic; the first outbreak to be designated as such in over ten years.

    The European Union has yet to initiate a coordinated response to the increase in the number of cases, instead leaving member states to introduce appropriate sanctions depending on circumstances. From closing borders in Germany, isolationist measures in Italy and Spain, and banning public gatherings in Ireland and Austria.

    Meanwhile, many international companies working within the European Union have taken a precautionary approach to limit or even ban non-essential travel for their employees.

    Health and safety is, of course, of paramount importance, and with the movement of potential attendees and size of potential gatherings limited by precautionary measures, the knock-on effect of COVID-19 is that it has seen a number of industry event organisers with conferences scheduled to take place in March, April and May elect to reschedule them until later in the year.

    The gathering of the European fuel and lubricants industry at UNITI in April has been rescheduled to September, ELGI the European Lubricating Grease Annual Meeting due to take place in Hamburg, has also been put back to the autumn.

    Other events due to be held over the spring remain under review even though some key events such as the Motor Show held in Geneva earlier this year, still went ahead behind closed doors.

    More information on the rescheduled dates of key industry events can be found in our Upcoming Industry Events section on page 57 or on the Lube Media website at www.lube-media.com/events.

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  • Producing greases faster and more economically – OWI develops new measuring method

    In a current research project, the OWI (Oel-Waerme-Institut) wants to develop a new measuring method with which the process of manufacturing lubricating greases can be accelerated and thus become more cost-effective. The quality of use of lubricating greases depends to a large extent on the manufacturing process in which the grease constituents base oil and thickener should be homogeneously mixed.

    With the new measuring method to be developed, the “time-to-market” and “cost-to-market” in the manufacturing process of the grease formulation should be reduced and the operational reliability of the grease in the later application should be ensured.

    The integration of a measuring method into the real-time monitoring of the grease production process is intended to enable continuous quality control instead of the random checks of the stirring process that have been common up to now. Furthermore, the method could be integrated into the regulation and control process of the production.

    Depending on the measuring method and the size of the tribological system, it is also possible to integrate the measuring method into the tribological system, thus enabling in-situ monitoring of the lubrication process. This can cover both the general condition of the lubricity as well as the detection of mixing effects of old and new goods in relubrication operated systems and thus the loss or restriction of lubricity can be detected at an early stage, thus reducing downtime.

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  • Croda awarded ICIS Surfactants Award for Product Innovation

    Croda International Plc has been awarded the ICIS Surfactants Award for Product Innovation for their unique, patented molecule, called the Star Polymer. This novel, star-shaped, polymeric non-ionic surfactant serves as a building block for the development of more stable and effective formulated products including as an automotive friction modifier. The molecule improves fuel economy, extends engine life and increases the time between oil changes. These additive benefits make it a prime candidate for customers to meet ILSAC GF-6 specifications which require significant improvements in engine oil. It is 100% bio-renewable when built with ethylene oxide derived from biomass, making it unique for North America.

    The awards recognise excellence and innovation within the surfactants industry. The product innovation award focuses on contributions to vital areas of the market.

    Rick Hanson, Managing Director, Croda said: “Being recognised for what Croda does well, innovate, by our peers in the surfactants industry & ICIS is a great honour. Credit goes to the Croda team who managed the development of this product from concept to commercialisation. Bringing a totally new molecule in today’s highly regulated market and securing a patent on it is not an easy challege.”

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  • KRAHN Chemie acquires Greek distributor InterActive

    As of January 2020, KRAHN Chemie GmbH has acquired a majority share of InterActive S.A., headquartered in Athens, Greece. Through this strategic acquisition the KRAHN Chemie Group expands its footprint not only in Europe but also in the Israeli market.

    InterActive S.A. was founded in 1990 and specialises in the distribution of lubricant additives in the Israeli, Greek and Cypriot market, as well as scientific instruments for R&D and QC laboratories in oil, pharma & chemical industries by representing renowned international manufacturers.

    Yannis Protopapas, founder, co-owner and Managing Director of InterActive S.A., explains:

    “The new affiliation with the KRAHN Group provides us with a strong and solid base for our future business development. As a family owned company, KRAHN Chemie clearly matches with InterActive, especially with its firm commitment to securing the long-term development and growth opportunities in today’s rapidly consolidating markets. It is a pleasure to be now part of a group which also strongly believes that deep local market knowledge and partnership-oriented relationships are fundamental in creating value for both our customers and suppliers. In addition, the access to an extensive and high-quality product range, technical services as well as in-house laboratory support will accelerate our future growth.”

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  • Ceremony to support the Chinese transportation industry with cutting-edge technology and additional capacity

    Infineum, a global leader of fuel and lubricant additives, held a ceremony with the Zhangjiagang Free Trade Zone on 8 January 2020 to mark the signing of the letter of intent to begin its integrated manufacturing base phase II project in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu province.

    Infineum Zhangjiagang plant first began production in March 2016, as the company’s first wholly owned blending plant in China. Phase I covers an area of 100,000 square metres and can produce 100,000 tonnes of lubricant additives per year. Phase II, a multi-million US dollar investment will cover an area of more than 130,000 square meters and will increase capacity to ensure Infineum can meet the rising demand for high-end lubricants in China and the Asia-Pacific region.

    The Phase II signing ceremony, held at the Jiyang Lake Hotel in Zhangjiagang, was attended by distinguished representatives from the Zhangjiagang municipal government, including: Mayor of ZJG Municipal Government Mr. Pan Guoqiang and Standing Member of ZJG Municipal Party Committee, Deputy Secretary of ZJG Free Trade Zone Party Work Committee Mr. Shi Xixian. The ceremony was also attended by Infineum senior leaders, including: Trevor Russell, CEO, Philippe Creteur, EVP of Global Sales, and Mike Chen, Infineum China President.

    Mr Chen commented “We are excited about this significant milestone in our China business expansion. The long-term trust and support of our customers as well as our industry partners are a cornerstone of Infineum’s continued growth in China. Through close ongoing collaboration, we remain committed to furthering the sustainable development of China’s transportation industry and serving the market with high-quality, high-value products and technologies.”

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  • New technology for a new laboratory

    Clariant Refinery Services has opened a new state-of-the-art crude and fuel oil laboratory that will focus on applications for transport and storage. Based in Bradford, United Kingdom, this global centre of excellence will support a highly experienced technical services team equipped to address multiple challenges experienced by refineries, storage terminals, pipeline providers, and logistic companies all around the world.

    Equipped with cutting-edge technology, the new lab has a wide selection of testing regimes and modern methods of crude oil analysis and performance testing. The facility puts Clariant Refinery Services at the forefront of finding and developing new, and customised, pour point depressant solutions for the downstream and midstream sector.

    With the ability to replicate field conditions within the laboratory, Clariant can conduct full performance potential analyses of any crude oil product, in a real-life simulation, providing customers with reliable solutions, fully tailored to their specific needs.

    With the new laboratory’s innovative methodologies and capabilities, Clariant has already developed PPD products and fuel stabiliser solutions specific to the challenges presented by new International Maritime Organization (IMO) 2020 regulations, limiting marine fuels’ Sulphur to 0.5% from the previous limit of 3.5%.

    The laboratory, that celebrated its official grand opening on January 23, will continue its focus on customer centered application development with technical experts being specialists in simulating and replicating field conditions.

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  • European Union Green Deal

    In December, President of the European Commission von der Leyen unveiled plans to accelerate the European Union’s momentum towards becoming a climate-neutral continent by 2050.

    Part of this deal will enshrine carbon neutrality in European law, extend the existing Carbon Emissions Trading System to include marine and phase out aviation’s free allowances, review the Energy Tax Directive, and introduce an Industrial Strategy to further reinforce the circular economy.

    At the moment the main impact upon the lubricants sector is through the review of the Energy Tax Directive of which lubricants are included but at a zero rate. The impact upon the sector of the introduction of a planned Carbon Border Tax based on the carbon content of products is still uncertain at this time.

    World Trade Organisation’s proposals upon which the tax would be based, have focused on carbon-based fuel and the use of a tax to regularise the impact of carbon-reduction measures across countries in order to reduce emissions.

    The policy work on the review of the EU Energy Tax Directive will be led by UEIL and the position is to retain the status quo in having lubricants included in the Energy Tax Directive but at a zero rate.
    Political guidelines for the next European Commission 2019 to 2024 can be found at https://ec.europa.eu/commission

    An EU briefing on the Green Deal can be found at https://www.europarl.europa.eu

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  • Michael Manley of FCA elected ACEA President for 2020

    The Board of Directors of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) has elected Michael Manley, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), as its new President.

    As of January 2020, Mr Manley will take over from Carlos Tavares, Chairman of the Managing Board of PSA Group, who served as ACEA President for two consecutive terms in 2018 and 2019.

    The priorities of ACEA for next year include developing a pathway for the transition to carbon-neutral road transport, while ensuring the economic sustainability of the European auto sector.

    “As an industry we want to take the lead in transforming mobility in a way that puts the consumer first, but also enables us to remain globally competitive and resilient,” stated Michael Manley.

    The ACEA President is elected for a year-long term, once renewable, from the CEOs of its member companies, which are the 15 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers.

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  • Workshop on Regulatory Requirements for Chemicals within a Global Market

    ATIEL, the technical association representing manufacturers and marketers in the European lubricants industry, organised with ATC, the Technical Committee of petroleum additive manufacturers, a workshop dedicated to regulatory requirements for chemicals within a global market.

    The main goal of the meeting, which took place on the 23rd October 2019, was to highlight the compliance challenges and to discuss best practice solutions in meeting the diverse requirements of national authorities across the world. In addition, the objective was to find a path for improving cooperation with the European automotive industry manufacturing globally today and tomorrow, scanning the horizon for new chemicals and evolving chemicals legislations.

    To handle the actual challenges ACEA proposes specific actions for improvement in the supply-chain communication and ask for discussion. But regulatory compliance data communication within the supply chain is complex. It requires a need to understand the current ways of working within additive companies, oil companies and their respective customers. Once processes, data availability and customer requirements are understood, the lubricants industry can identify the challenges faced with sharing data through the supply chain and seek to improve for the future.

    During the discussions in the workshop, various solutions were presented to improve communication and increase trust between suppliers and their customers. In the final discussion the attendees agreed on a common goal: establish a joint task force on chemical compliance globally (ATC/ATIEL/ ACEA) to develop, among others, guidance for the communication of sensitive information throughout the supply chain ensuring a win-win situation for all operators and the protection of Confidential Business Information (CBI).

    Attendees applauded the outcome of this workshop and the willingness of all stakeholders to achieve a constructive cooperative approach in product stewardship.

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  • Shell supports SkyNRG in developing Europe’s first dedicated sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production plant

    The development of the DSL-01 production plant in Delfzijl, Netherlands, is led by SkyNRG, a global market leader for SAF and a long-term strategic partner of Shell Aviation. Shell will bring its technical and commercial expertise to the development of the plant, and through participation in the project will secure the option to purchase sustainable aviation fuel produced at the facility.

    The DSL-01 production facility is on schedule for commissioning in 2022, representing the earliest dedicated commercial supply of sustainable aviation fuel to the aviation market in Europe. The plant will annually produce 100,000 tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel, corresponding to a reduction in lifecycle CO2 equivalent emissions of approximately 270,000 tonnes. The plant will also produce naphtha, and 15,000 tonnes of bioLPG annually as a by-product.

    Earlier, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has committed itself for a 10-year period to the development and purchase of 75,000 tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel a year.

    The feedstocks used for production will be waste and residue streams, such as used cooking oil, sourced predominantly from regional industries. The facility will run on sustainable hydrogen, produced local to the site in the Groningen Seaport. The combined benefits of the feedstocks, sustainable hydrogen, and use of low carbon energy to power production, will contribute to the production of sustainable aviation fuel with lifecycle carbon emissions approximately 85% lower than conventional jet fuels, as estimated by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials.

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  • Infineum’s new Global Centre of Innovation creates over 50 specialist jobs in Oxfordshire

    Infineum, one of the world leaders in the formulation, manufacture and marketing of petroleum additives for fuels and lubricants, officially opened their new Global Centre of Innovation on Friday 8 November, at their Headquarters in Milton Hill.

    This multi-million pound investment in their site close to Didcot, has generated more than 50 new jobs for talented chemists and engineers, to research better and more sustainable solutions in the automotive, transmissions and fuels additives business. This influx of talent provides the opportunity for Infineum to accelerate on their journey of creating a sustainable future using innovative chemistry.

    The new state-of-the-art building delivers improved infrastructure that supports their technology leadership, including new laboratories for leading edge research and development, along with a variety of collaborative and agile meeting spaces, and a new restaurant for employees and visitors.

    The new building has been designed with sustainability in mind and includes solar panels on the roof, a roof garden, LED lighting throughout, and water and electricity optimisation and efficiency investments.

    Trevor Russell, Infineum’s Global CEO, welcomed key customers and industry partners to a networking event which enabled guests from around the world to experience the building first-hand through guided tours.

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  • UEIL Sustainability Task Force holds its 3rd meeting

    The UEIL Sustainability Task Force was officially launched on 27 March 2019 during its first meeting in Brussels. Members of the Task Force gathered for a full day of meetings and took this opportunity to introduce themselves and the sustainability strategy of their respective companies, to start an initial discussion on how UEIL should take this concept on board.

    At its Annual Congress in Budapest in 2018, UEIL had announced the formation of a Sustainability Task Force charged with developing a framework to define, develop and measure sustainability in the European lubricants industry. The formation had been introduced by Apu Gosalia, Vice-President for Sustainability (CSO) & Global Intelligence at FUCHS Petrolub, who chairs the Task Force and who explained that the group should work proactively on requirements that the European Union is already beginning to introduce for other industries.

    The membership of the UEIL Sustainability Task Force was designed to fulfill certain criteria and prerequisites and is therefore:

    • composed of EU-headquartered companies;
    • representative of the whole lubricants value chain, including additive suppliers, base oil suppliers, lubricant blenders, and customers;
    • composed of companies that have proved to be willing to engage in the sustainability debate;
    • representative of a mix of European countries.

    Company members of the Task Force include BASF Fuels & Lubricant Solutions, CRODA, EVONIK Oil Additives, LANXESS, NESTE, NYNAS, INEOS, Itelyum, FUCHS Petrolub, BLASER Swisslube, RS Clare, CIPELIA, NOWAL Chimica, Q8, and BOSCH. The Task Force will evolve into a fully-fledged committee of the association at a later stage.

    The overall work of the Task Force is led by three main steps:

    • define what sustainability is for the lubricants industry;
    • develop commitments for key sustainability targets;
    • define how to implement these commitments.

    After June, the Task Force reunited for a third meeting that was held on 11 September. On this occasion, the Task Force Members confirmed their definition of sustainability in the lubricants sector, discussed the prioritisation of relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and further progressed on their work to develop a formal Sustainability Task Force strategy.

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  • Leaders in Industrial Process Fluids Combine to Form Quaker Houghton

    Quaker Chemical Corporation and Houghton International have combined to create Quaker Houghton (NYSE: KWR), the global leader in industrial process fluids to the primary metals and metalworking markets. Along with the new name, the company revealed a new logo and brand representing the combined companies. The company will continue to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and trade under the “KWR” ticker symbol.

    Quaker Houghton Combination Press Release 08.01.19 FINAL

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  • New Chair for CEC

    ATIEL is pleased to announce that Dr Nick Clague of SK Lubricants has been appointed to the chair of CEC. Nick is a well known member of various ATIEL committees and we are delighted that his company has made sufficient time available to him to carry out this role.

    Nick has worked in the industry for over 20 years since completing his PhD with Adibis in 1998. He has previously worked for both Afton and Lubrizol in various roles developing formulations for many different applications from hydraulic oils through to formulating heavy duty diesel engine oils.

    Nick is the Global Technical Manager for SK Lubricants and is based in the United Kingdom. Nick is responsible for technical matters relating to SK Lubricants YUBASE and YUBASE plus base oils. He also represents SK Lubricants on several ATIEL committees and regularly attends cross-industry meetings. He has been one of ATIEL’s representatives on the CEC Management Board for several years and is therefore well placed to take on the chairmanship. He takes over the role from Frank Stunnenberg of Chevron, who chaired CEC for two years on behalf of ATC, another of CEC’s stakeholders.

    CEC, the Coordination Council for the development of performance tests for fuels, lubricants and other fuels, comprises four stakeholders – ACEA, ATC, ATIEL and Concawe. It is tasked with developing performance tests for fuels and lubricants.

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  • Appointment of New Leader for Shell Aviation

    Anna Mascolo has been appointed Vice President of Shell’s Aviation business, taking over from Anne Anderson who is moving to a senior leadership role in Shell’s Chemicals business.

    “I am so proud of what we have achieved in recent years,” said Anne. “Shell Aviation is a thriving business in Shell’s portfolio, equipped with the right expertise and resources to offer a diverse suite of solutions for our customers. We have a new footprint through growth in new locations, new supply chains, and we are at the forefront of the industry response to climate change. Through collaboration with external partners, we are providing truly add-value solutions, including our industry-first electric pump jet refuelling vehicles, Shell SkyPad – our digital refuelling data capture technology, and sustainable aviation fuel. The business is in an extremely strong position to help our customers’ businesses progress and succeed.”

    Anna will take over from Anne on 1 July 2019. She brings to the Aviation business broad global experience from Chemicals, Fuels and Gas Products. Her career spans over 20 years in customer facing and supply roles.

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