IPOL represents ethos, values, ethics and the 'Clean & Green' culture of GP Petroleums

K Murali
CEO, GP Petroleums Ltd
GP Petroleums Ltd, subsidiary of Gulf Petrochem Group - a UAE-based leading player in the oil sector, has formed a strategic partnership with Spain’s No 1 petroleum company 'Repsol' to exclusively manufacture and market Repsol’s superior and comprehensive line of premium quality lubricants across India. K Murali, CEO, GP Petroleums Ltd, spoke exclusively to Offshore World on the company's strategic partnership with Repsol and the significant of GP Petroleums' flagship brand IPOL.

How do you evaluate the current scenario of India's lubricant industry and what are the key growth drivers for the same?
Indian lubricants market is the third largest market in the world in terms of consumption volume. We see a very potential market in India for lubricants with rising opportunities.

The Indian lubricant industry is one of the fastest growing lubricant industries in the world. In absolute terms, the volume consumption was 1.9 million kilo litres during FY13. The lubricants usage can be divided in two key segments - Automotive and Industrial. The Automotive segment is 52 percent and Industrial segment is 48 per cent on volume terms.

With reference to the forecasted growth in the auto industry, we feel that the lubricant industry in India is likely to benefit from this growth. The overall lubricants industry in consumer segment in India is expected to grow at 6.6 percent per year. Hence our strategy fits with the overall growth in the coming future. Strong demand from power generation, automotive manufacturing sector, higher investment in infrastructure division and project execution by construction companies generate excellent demand in machinery manufacturing and other core industrial segments. These trends are shaping the Indian lubricants industry. Oil marketing companies are shifting focus from urban region to the untapped rural market.

Today India is moving towards a horizon of new technology. Change and improvement in engine & machinery technology frequently opens a new challenge & competition in the lubricant industry.

Please give us a lowdown on GP Petroleums lubricants business in India and more into the significance of IPOL Brand of the company?
GP Petroleums has a strong presence in industrial lubricants with its flagship brand IPOL. IPOL has been present in India for over four decades and more than 70 percent of our business is from the industrial lubricant sector.

GP Petroleums has the production capacity of 70,000 MT/year. As on today, around 50,000 MT/year is being produced from our plant. Our plan is first to put efforts on marketing to increase the sale to full capacity level and plan for expansion thereafter.

IPOL has one of the widest ranges of products carefully designed to suit various applications & deliver high performances. The products have several latest national & international performance specifications & approvals to their credit such as API, JASO, ACEA etc, other than OEM credentials. It represents ethos, values, ethics and the ‘Clean & Green’ culture of GP Petroleums Limited.

Can you please throw some light on the latest GP Petroleums association with Repsol and how would the association help the company to strengthen its portfolio in automotive and industrial lubricants business in India?
GP Petroleums, in order to tap the growing potential in the Indian automotive market, partnered with Spain's No 1 petroleum company 'Repsol' to exclusively manufacture and market Repsol's line of premium quality lubricants across India and to expand our footprints in this ever growing economy.

As mentioned before, GP Petroleums has well equipped manufacturing facilities with hi-tech blending facility, quality-control test labs and automated filling and packaging stations. The group's in-house base oil storage facility of 17,000 KL is one of the largest in the industry in India .

GP Petroleums and Repsol together are targeting on achieving 5 per cent automotive lubricant market by the end of the decade. Understanding the present market scenario if we successfully achieve our target then India will be the second largest lubricant market for Spanish lubricant maker with a production of 50,000 metric tonne in India.

Please apprise us the marketing strategies that GP Petroleums has been adapted to compete with NOCs like; IOCL, BPCL and HPCL which hold almost half of market share in lubricant segment?
Yes, I do agree with you that the lubricants industry in India is dominated by national oil companies namely IOC, BPCL and HPCL that account for almost half of market share. Apart from them, the market comprises of private multinationals like Shell, Exxon Mobil, Total, IPOL and numerous smaller and loyal players.

As demand in the sector is expected to rise in the recent future, foreign companies are keen in investing in India. Looking into this growing opportunity even Gulf Petrochem made an opportunistic move in investing in Indian lubricant market. GP Petroleums will consolidate its position in Industrial Segment by taking the brand IPOL (the industrial lubricant) international.

And recently GP Petroleums, partnered with Spain's No 1 petroleum company 'Repsol' to exclusively manufacture and market Repsol's line of premium quality lubricants across India and to expand the footprints in this ever growing economy. Repsol in automotive segment comes with some differentiated benefits which will give a choice to Indian consumer. It will make the product available and generate awareness in the 1st phase.

As the country gears up for new changes, GP Petroleums plans to expand its footprints in the country and provide better facilities and services in its prevalent sector.

India has already achieved BS IV emission level and is likely to graduate directly to BS-VI. As a lubricant company, what role does GP Petroleums have in bridging the gap? What is the total market size you are targeting for the lubricant business in India and what is your strategy grow the same?
GPPL can offer lubricants to meet these norms and which are available as per current norms. It is Auto OEMs who would be involved in developing technologies to meet these emission norms by designing engines accordingly. Refiners/Marketers would produce/make available, Fuels meeting these norms .

As I mentioned before, GP Petroleums along with Repsol is targeting on achieving 5 per cent automotive lubricant market by the end of the decade. If we are successful in this mission then India will be the second largest lubricant market for Spanish lubricant maker with a production of 50 ,000 metric tonne in India. As part of our strategy, GPPL/Repsol would focus on (a) Motorcycle segment (fastest growing population - across the World) ; (b) Diesel Engine Oils : Highest potential in terms of volumes.

What are the GP Petroleums' future expansion plans in India (facility expansion, products portfolio expansion, diverse of offering services to industry segments expansion, new investments, etc)?
As you are well aware of, GP Petroleums has recently started expanding their operations. We made our first strategic move by partnering with Repsol. This gave us an opportunity to tap the automotive segment. We do have furthers plans lined-up for the company. We are in plans to take our reputed industrial lubricant brand-IPOL international. But right now we are concentrating on working on the foundation of the new assignments the company has recently stepped into.