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Natural Gas-Based Motor Oil (Shell-Pennzoil) Infiltrates Transportation Market

Royal Dutch Shell plc's patented PurePlus Technology, a first-of-its-kind base oil formulated from natural gas as the main component of motor oil, went on the market Thursday, the company said.

PurePlus Technology, one development within Shell's gas-to-liquids (GTL) arm, is being used to create motor oils for U.S. customers through Pennzoil products, also owned by the company (see Daily GPIMarch 7). Shell manufactures the base oil at Pearl GTL in Ras Laffan, Qatar, a partnership with Qatar Petroleum (see Daily GPIMarch 25, 2011).

"Pennzoil is paving the way for our industry by offering modern and inventive synthetic motor oils made from natural gas," said Shell’s Chris Hayek, Global Brand Director for Lubricants Passenger Car Motor Oil. "What we like about PurePlus Technology is that it starts with a base of pure, crystal clear base oil made from natural gas with fewer of the impurities found in crude oil, which is the traditional base for many other conventional and synthetic motor oils."

Shell's GTL process dates back to the 1970s and PurePlus base oil has been in large-scale commercial development since late 2011. The company claims to be the only manufacturer to have produced base oils from natural gas on a commercial scale.

Shell's lubricants division accounted for about one-quarter of company earnings in 2013. The United States in 2012 accounted for close to one-quarter of the entire global lubricants market.

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