Can you tell us more about the range of lubricants that Hindustan Petroleum manufactures and sells?
Hindustan Petroleum markets the entire range of lubricants required in the automotive, marine and industrial sectors. We are the largest producer of base oils in India. Our base oil refinery has the capability of producing Group I, Group II and Group III base oils. We have a state-of-the-art R&D centre located in Mumbai and are the first company to launch lubricants using nano technology in the automotive sector.
What are the current trends in HPCL’s lubricants markets for vehicles and how would you compare 2011-12 sales with 2010-11?
HPCL is currently growing at a rate of 10 percent while the Indian market as a whole is growing at a rate of 3-4 percent. 2011-12 was very good wherein we grew by 10.5 percent in value-added lubricants. We are ahead of the industry in growth during the current year 2012-13 as well.
What does HPCL do to ensure that the lubricants made and sold are eco-friendly?
Over the years, we have been trying to promote lubricants that are eco-friendly. Recently, we have helped Indian Railways in developing a new-generation radiator coolant-cum-corrosion protector. The product is based on eco-friendly organic carboxylate-based chemistry, which is 100 percent biodegradable. The product replaced several ingredients used in radiator coolants that are known to be unfriendly to mother nature, like ethylene glycol and borates. In fact, the Indian Railways has totally switched over to our product for its ALCO locomotives.
How does HPCL market its lubes range and does it pitch the eco-friendly and efficiency-related qualities of its products?
We have developed some products with low PAH (Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons) oils that are being used by tyre manufacturers. These low PAH oils are free from carcinogenic effects. We also produce new-generation hydraulic oils which are energy efficient in the long run. Our recent activities with OEMs like JCB, Force Motors and Bajaj Auto have produced oils that could double their drain periods. Our tree spray oils have the approval from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for organic farming as per EU, EC, USDA NOP and NPOP norms. Our marketing R&D has obtained patents for developing a new process for manufacturing lithium grease. The new process not only saves time on manufacturing but the final product has better structural and stability.
Use of synthetic lubes, which were earlier limited to premium cars, has also made inroads into mass-market car dealerships. What are the advantages?
Synthetics, as the name suggest, have been synthesised for performing under a given set of conditions. Several base fluids have emerged as an effective replacement for the mineral base oils we generally use to formulate engine oils or any lubricating oil for that matter.
These synthetics offer several advantages that a formulator would like in his base fluids like a very high viscosity index, high thermal and oxidation stability and very good low-temperature properties. This means that engine oils formulated with synthetic base stocks can give you several advantages like fuel economy, engine wear protection and, finally, long-drain capability.
Sometime ago, we had launched the HP Milcy Synthetic that complies with the API CH-4 specifications for heavy-duty diesel engines. Our trials at the Punjab State Transport have proven its long-drain capability by going smoothly over 100,000km. We have just launched another synthetic engine oil product called ‘HP NEO SYNTH1’ for new-generation petrol-powered cars.
HPCL has made key strides in its product packaging. Can you elaborate?
We have taken many initiatives in packaging that brought us not only national but also international awards for innovation. HPCL was the first company to introduce lubricants in transparent PET bottles. This initiative got us the prestigious
Asia Star Award. This year too, the ‘World Star Packaging Award' has been awarded to us by the World Packaging Organisation for our packaging initiative of developing the 1-litre Rolla-Pack in our product 'HP Laal Ghoda'. This award is one of the most prestigious awards in packaging. Our many other innovations include introduction of tamper-evident seals for 210-
litre MS barrels and smallest SKU of 10-gram grease pouch.