Petroyağ Lubricants, maintaining its growth in its 23rd year in the sector, has just opened Turkey’s 333rd R&D center with the support of the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology. At the same time, it is also the first R&D center that has been built with 100% domestic capital in industrial lubricant market. We visited Ünal Soysal, Petroyağ Lubricants’ Chairman of the Executive Board, and talked about the company’s story that started in a small office, its growth process, targets and R&D projects.
Let’s begin with Petroyağ Lubricants’, history in the lubricant business. How did your journey start in the sector?
After taking part in many companies in the sector, we decided to establish Petroyağ Lubricants’ in 1993. We started our journey with two people, and now continue with a staff of 74 people. We have experienced four economic crises and have managed to survive with growth. In 2005, we were one of the first companies to receive lubricant production certificate from EMRA. After that, we bought a land of 5 acres in Arslanbey and built our first facility. This facility, which has a capacity of 26 thousand tons, became
inadequate after three years as we started exporting. In 2012, we decided to move to the Gebze Organized Industrial Region. Our new facility includes a large R&D center with a capacity of 50 thousand tons and a laboratory. When we look at the time between 2013 and 2018, we see that we have attained a very good level with our investments and exports.
Can you tell us your production capacity, products, marke share, and key points that have an important impact on your growth?
Our main products mainly consist of white oil, aluminum rolling oil, transformer oil and process oil, and these products cover most of our production capacity. Food grade lubricants and dough cutting oil are also in our product portfolio. We have been concentrating on our industrialists’ needs since the first day and we have been producing special oils for industrial applications, that’s why our production capacity has reached 40 thousand tons in a short period of time and we have 22 percent market share in the industrial oil market. Petroyağ Lubricants has never focused on motor oil sector where competition is intense. Our particular focus has always been niche areas in the industry, which brought us here today. The storage capacity of our facility is 10 thousand tons, and our annual production capacity is 50 thousand tons. We have the necessary equipment and infrastructure to increase our capacity by 70 thousand tons per year. Our monthly filling capacity is 8 thousand barrels. It takes great trust and dedication to work with same companies constantly in today’s competitive conditions.We always regard our customers as business partners. Our
high supply power, speed, experience and knowledge ensure persistence in this unity.
What are Petroyağ Lubricants’ export products, markets and goals?
Today, Petroyağ Lubricants’ exports more than 50 products to 24 countries. We have distributors in 14 countries. We made our first export in 2007. Our goal is to increase the share of exports up to 30 percent of our total sales, and to export to 40 countries. We attach particular importance to Russia and Iran. We are planning to open an office in Iran. The Russian market has declined due to the latest political crisis, but it is recovering. We are very hopeful of these markets in the long run. We are capable of providing products to almost all sectors. We also aim to enter into the CIS markets with reliable distributors which have a strong hold on the sector.
How do you see the future of Turkish lubricants industry?
If actual players stay in the industry and continue to develop innovative products, the industry will have room to flourish. Turkey has a very important advantage in terms of logistics. We have a neighbor -Iran- which has struggled with embargoes for many years and could not develop its technology for industrial oils. For example, South Koreadoes not have any petroleum resources, just like us. But it is exporting processed petroleum products to the world with 7 refineries. Currently, Turkey’s only production plant is Petkim. South Korea’s success lies in technology, labor force, and systematic work. What is holding us back?
Recently, there has been a major development in your company. We are curious about everything about your new R&D center...
You know our country’s biggest problem is that it does not produce value added products. Average export value per kilogram is 1.45 USD. As long as we do not increase this value, itseems difficult for us to grow and reach the level of developed countries. As Petroyağ Lubricants, our first priority is production, and then R&D. In 2008, our laboratory obtained Turkak Accreditation Certificate. As our company grew, we constantly invested in laboratory and R&D. We achieved the level of infrastructure and qualified labor force required by the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology as part of its R&D center support, and opened the 333rd R&D center of Turkey. In the field of industrial oil, we are the first company to receive this support with 100 percent Turkish capital. We will raise the efficiency and effectiveness of our current TEYDEP project with TUBITAK, ARDEP project with universities, and TAGEM project with the Ministry of Agriculture; and we willcreate more added value for our country with this support. With the support provided by the Ministry, a platform is established in which academic studies turn into added value by an alliance between the industry and universities. I think this combination will accelerate the design and development of innovative products in our country. Let’s talk about your objectives for the near future.
What kind of innovations will Petroyağ Lubricants bring to the sector with this R&D center?
Last month, the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology entitled Petroyağ Lubricants to be a R&D center and we became the 333rd R&D center of Turkey. This will allow us to develop innovative products with the support of the government and sell our products both in Turkey and abroad. We believe that the products we will develop will be very useful in the industry. By producing a product which has an annual import value of approximately 50 million Euro in our R&D center, we not only create added value but also prevent any increase in the current account deficit. We believe such efforts and innovations will take our country one step ahead. We have four major targets: Developing oleo chemicals while sustaining our current capacity; expanding worldwide industrial applications in Turkey; increasing our exports; and developing innovative products in our R&D center. We want to take the lead in the 4th Industrial Revolution, attaching importance to efficiency, assessment, development, and innovation with a result-oriented approach. The R&D Center will help us see our goals more clearly and realize these goals.