Vietnamese Lube Spec Unlikely to Impact Quality

Keywords: Vietnamese, Lube,

Vietnam’s implementation of a mandatory national lubricant standard last December may reduce the availability of low quality recycled lubricants, but overall lubricant quality in the market is expected to remain unchanged, industry insiders told Lube Report.

“[The] Vietnam government does not regulate and control the quality of lubricant according to API standards for internal combustion engine oils,” Nguyen Trung, CEO of AP Saigon Petro JSC, told Lube Report.

“With the national specification, the Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam can solve the problem with control and remove recycled oils. For engine oils manufactured from mineral base oil (not recycled oils), there is not much meaning because our lowest product grade of [engine oil] SD/CC 50 meets the requirement of” the country’s new national lubricant standard, he added.

In addition, the impact on recycled oil will be minimal in areas outside the major cities. “The cheap, unknown, fake or dirty lubes are very hard to control. Hundreds of low quality brands [are] sold in the provinces and areas near the border where consumers do not care about quality,” said Kien Nguyen, director of NMK LLC, a business consultancy in Hanoi, Vietnam.

On Dec. 15, 2018, the government implemented the national technical regulation on lubricating oils for internal combustion engines, known as QCVN 14:2018/BKHCN. The regulation states that mineral and synthetic lubricants produced and imported must be tested and bear the compliance mark before being sold in the market.

However, lubricants produced, imported and marketed before the implementation date will be allowed to be sold until June 15, 2020. This regulation does not apply to internal combustion engine lubricants used for security and defense purposes. Testing has to be done by a test center at the Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality of Vietnam, a government agency under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

“All products made by key players have passed [API] standard’s qualification, and key players such as Petrolimex Petrochemical Corp.Castrol BPTotalShellChevron, JXTG, Idemitsu and others have more than 50 percent of the total market share,” said Nguyen.

Indonesia also announced the implementation of its mandatory national lubricant standards in September last year.