PIEA holds its first Africa lubricants & coolants Summit 

The Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA) conducted the first edition of a two-day summit on March 14th—15th, 2024, themed “2024 Africa Lubricants & Coolants Summit, Exhibition and Training Workshop.” This event provided a platform for stakeholders to discuss the science of lubricants and coolants and the opportunities and challenges present in this industry, among other key topics. 

In attendance were professionals from some of the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), Bureau Veritas, the Energy & Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), the Kenya Revenue Authority(KRA), and the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), among others. 

The summit brought together industry experts and market leaders to discuss how to improve the lubricants industry in general. The resounding voice was that the OMCs would have to be at the center of driving the change they desire to see in the industry. 

Discussions and presentations focused on the major issues in the lubricants industry, which include the mismatch between lubrication and maintenance and the need to harmonize these two aspects in the lubes industry. Coolants were also discussed extensively. The major challenge is the lack of a testing facility to ascertain whether they comply with existing standards. This has led to the proliferation of fake coolants (colored water) that cost the economy over 4 million dollars annually in importing radiators, water pumps, thermal stats, etc. 

Other presentations were on financing the industry, standards and regulations, and product testing, as well as on the challenges facing the lubricants industry. Some of the difficulties highlighted were disturbing. The menace of counterfeit products is getting worse. Mohamed Baraka, the Managing Director of Synergy Lubricants, who presented on this topic, brought to light the gravity of how bad the situation is, as there is a new trend, especially in the coastal region called “kanjanja oil,” where recycled lubricants are sold in used plastic water bottles. 

 The exhibition provided a platform for industry players to showcase their products and services. Companies like Ola Energy, the silver sponsor, showcased their products. Other sponsors were Galana Energies, Bureau Veritas, Shell, TotalEnergies, and BASF. The training workshop covered product formulation and manufacturing, proper selection and application of engine oils, greases, and coolants, and sustainable waste management. 

From the above presentations and other discussions, there was unanimous agreement that Kenya’s lubricants industry has many opportunities to explore. The industry’s challenges will require collaborations and partnerships from all industry players, as well as the government and private sector, to formulate solutions. 

PIEA hopes to have another summit in the future and have more attendance from the OMCs operating in the Kenyan market.