Lubricants in Australia

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  • Topic: Lubricant, Petroleum, Motor oil
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  • Published : November 7, 2012
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Market study: Lubricants

November 2012


The Lubricating Oil Market in Australia3
The Packaging of Retail Lubricating Oil3
Major actors in the sector4

The Lubricating Oil Market in Australia
The consumption of lubricating oil in Australia totalled 458 megalitres (ML) in 2009/10.

The major users are industrial and mining companies, primary producers, transport companies and the automotive industry. These commercial users account for approximately 85 per cent of sales of lubricating oil. These sales are almost entirely made in bulk, or in steel drums, directly from the lubricating oil companies or their distributors.

The balance of sales, approximately 40 ML/year, is made in packaged form, predominantly to light commercial industry, motorists and home DIY oil changers. The sales channels include service stations, supermarkets, and automotive accessory retail outlets. Lubricating oil companies sell packaged lubricating oils under their own brands, and also supply packaged lubricating oil for private oil labels – such as those of supermarkets and automotive accessory chains.

Packaged sales have trended down in recent years, with a trend to larger bulk packaging where possible. This retail sales channel gives rise to a waste stream, comprised of used oil and used oil packaging – ie plastic oil bottles. This Action Plan is focused on the latter waste stream.

Source: Australian Institute of Petroleum,

The Packaging of Retail Lubricating Oil
Lubricating oil bottles are almost exclusively made from coloured HDPE. The total volume of HDPE would have approximated 2335 tonnes.

The bottle sizes range from 0.2 - 20 litres. However the bulk of sales are concentrated in three sizes: 1 litre, 4 litres and 5 litres. These three sizes constitute over 80 per cent of bottle volume and HDPE usage.

The weighting of bottles is a competitive issue for lubricating oil companies, and is...
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