Petronas Lubricants to begin India plant operation in October

Currently, the company’s plant in India is at commissioning stage following 30 months of construction period

By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

Petronas Lubricants International Sdn Bhd (PLI) is expected to begin operation of its new plant in India this October.

Currently, the company’s blending plant in Patalganga, India, is at commissioning stage following 30 months of construction period.

MD and group CEO Guiseppe D’Arrigo said PLI, the wholly owned subsidiary of Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), has invested US$55 million (RM223.91 million) into the new facility.

“India has a very big market. It is important for us to establish a stronger presence and credibility with the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs),” D’Arrigo said at the briefing of PLI’s search for the next trackside fluid engineer in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

PLI currently has a network of multiple OEM partnerships including Tata Motors Ltd, Fiat Group, New Holland, Doosan Group, Case Construction, Maruti Suzuki India, Piaggio and BharatBenz for branded and co-branded lubricants.

The company currently sells 25 million litres of fluidsing in India.

The new factory is expected to boost its capacity with an additional 110 million litres.

D’Arrigo said the Indian market is expected to grow 6% per year on the rise of motorisation in the country.

“India could replicate the speed of growth happened in China before over the next five years,” he added.

Broadly, PLI is committed to investing US$150 million (RM610.65 million), including the Patalganga facility, for the next five years.

The plant is set to be the most modern facility in PLI’s global production network with unique capabilities to blend the most complex fluids as well as equipped with the latest equipment in fluid analytics.

Last March, PLI opened its new global research and technology (R&T) centre in Turin, Italy.

The US$60 million centre will be the global hub for PLI’s R&T activities in fluids.

The next trackside fluid engineer will be serving the group’s Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, a four-time FIA Formula One (F1) World Champions in the race circuit.

The global talent search has drawn some 2,500 applicants as of July 31, 2018 and the search is open until Oct 7.

A trackside fluid engineer is tasked to ensure the F1 car is filled with the right fuel and lubricant for the race entry qualification and performance.

In a race day, the trackside engineers will be working in pair together with 10 other track crews of different functions.

“It is all about speed. The team need the input very fast pre-race. On the race day, it can be very long with 20 hours. Post-race is again about speed as we need to dismantle everything and send the correct results before we move to the next race,” Petronas’ earlier trackside engineer Ahmad Nasri Mohd Shafie said at the briefing.

PLI launches a new trackside fluid engineer headhunting for the F1 team in every two years.

Ahmad Nasri was the first Malaysian recruited through the initiative, along with a Briton and a Venezuelan from earlier batches.