What exactly is a blender?

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Mar 5, 2003
What exactly is a blender? I take it that some companies just blend motor oils and do not produce their own basestocks. I take it that companies like Chevron and Exxon/Mobil are big enough to produce their own basestocks and formulate their own motor oils. And they are probably also able to do a lot of testing of their own motor oils. What about the blenders? I take it that they are smaller companies. Somebody mentioned recently at this web site that Castrol is a blender. I always thought that Castrol was a large company able to produce its own basestocks and able to do its own research and development. So if Castrol is a blender, who produces the basestocks for Castrol? British Petroleum? Is Pennzoil a blender? How about Valvoline, Quaker State, Redline, Schaeffer's, Kendall, Amsoil, Royal Purple, etc.? Are the blenders able to do a lot of research on their motor oils? Are they able to control the quality of basestocks that they buy?
A blender is a company like Amsoil and Redline, that don't produce the base oils/chemicals and additive packages, but buy them from companies such as ExxonMobil and Lubrizol and put together or (blend) oils. In other words, Amsoil and Redline don't manufacture any chemicals. They are strictly formulators. They might make a few things though.
Thanks buster. I think that this is really an important question. If the typical motor oil blender just gets additives from some company that sells additive packages, and gets basestocks from some other company, and then through great advertising is able to sell a lot of motor oil, how do we know the motor oil is really all that good? How much research and testing is the blender doing? Has anybody ever wondered about this? In comparison, Exxon/Mobil is a very big, very wealthy company, and can afford to do a lot of research and testing. And if Exxon/Mobil is developing its own additive packages and its own basestocks, those additive packages and basestocks can be better 'tailored' in the finished product. Would this be a possible reason why Chevron motor oil is apparently so good? If Chevron is developing its own chemical additives and basestocks, they can probably develop a better finished product. The big oil companies like Exxon/Mobil and Chevron can do testing in their own fleets of vehicles. In fact, I am sure that they do, because I know that a small company that made an oil supplement was doing that. In comparison to the big companies, how much real world testing can some small company afford to do? And when you think about it, if several motor oil blenders are getting basestocks from the same company, and getting addtive packages from the same company, how much real world difference is there between the motor oils those companies sell? Is Brand A really any different than Brand B, if they use basestocks from the same company and an additive package from the same company?
how do we know the motor oil is really all that good?
Very, very, very good point. I've been thinking the same thing. I think Mobil has more money and has spent more money for and on R&D then any of these companies. If you look at Amsoil's S2k, I think one of the problems they had with this oil was due to a supplier change. I think Amsoil and Redline make excellent oils but I think there are some within that are better then others and I believe it has to do with what type and quality components they are using. Amsoil in fact buys there PAO base from ExxonMobil and then tinkers with the additive package that they buy from Lubrizol. Let it be known I have no direct evidence of this but common sense tells me that it's true. I do have evidence on the Amsoil S2k line though. Pennzoil is a good oil and not a blender. I also think Castrol is owned by BP of the UK. They make there own oil from what I understand. [ July 17, 2003, 09:09 PM: Message edited by: buster ]
Stop and think about it a little. What are some of the conventional motor oils that have tested the best? Chevron (big company, now part of Chevron/Texaco/whatever), Exxon SuperFlo (big company, now part of Exxon/Mobil), Mobil Drive Clean (big company, now part of Exxon/Mobil), Pennzoil (blender?), and Castrol (blender?). The situation involving synthetic oils appears to be more complicated. Even if Pennzoil and Castrol can be considered blenders, they are still large companies. Now, I am not saying that smaller companies cannot make great products. Just take a look at Auto-RX and Schaeffer's.
buster, I just now saw your reply. Think about that test that Mobil did with Mobil 1 oil. What was it-one million miles? How many small blender companies could afford to do something like that? People can criticize Mobil 1 in some ways, but there is no question it is a good motor oil. Mobil is big and wealthy enough to have been able to do the necessary testing. In comparison, some small blenders may be using the cars and trucks of their customers to test their products. If one of their motor oils fails in your car or truck or van or SUV-oophs! Sorry!
True. I do think Amsoil and Redline are top notch oils, they are also a mixed bag to some extent. They only use good components for the most part. There is no question that Mobil's size helps them. They are the world's best selling syn lube and they didn't get that way by making a lousy product. Is it the best? No, but it's **** good.
Originally posted by Mystic: Even if Pennzoil and Castrol can be considered blenders, they are still large companies. .
Pennzoil is not a blender. QS/Penn is a relatively recent merger of PA based Quaker State and Pennzoil (and they also own Wolfs head) and moved headquarters and most of production to Tejas. I think QS/Penn is by far the largest consumer supplier in the US (probly thru the jiffy lube and walmart and kmart and westen auto and pep boys et al service centers)
Just somewhat along the same lines-do you remember when Mobil took Castrol to court, saying that Castrol could not call Syntec a synthetic oil because Castro had stopped using PAO in Syntec? Well, it is my understanding that Castrol had been getting the PAO that it had been using from Mobil. Then Castrol decided to make Syntec into a Group III product.
I think you would find, if you looked hard enough, that most of the companies are just blenders of some of their products or portions of their products. Chevron has one of their major blending plants in Port Arthur, TX. They bring in ALL of the blending stocks, as they have not made any oils at that refinery since the early 1990's. In fact, they sold the entire plant in the early 1990's, after they shut down the lube plant. The lube plant has never run since. I know that some of their oils come from across the street, an old Texaco refinery. These have been used since before the merger. Even before Chevron shut down the lube plant, they started buying brightstock, as it could be purchased more economically. richard
Mystic, It goes both ways...look at some of the unfamiliar names of base oil refiners in this partial price report http://www.lubereport.com/e_article000167651.cfm?x=a1WqFTG,a12MT5WC Calumet??? Lithcon??? Motiva is the joint venture between Royal Dutch/Shell and Saudi Refining. So, it doesn't matter. Castrol is just a brand name owned by BP. BP is huge in lubes in Europe and not nearly as big here. If BP doesn't make base oils here, they buy base oil to blend for their Castrol brand. No big deal. Schaeffer buys base oil, but they select the best. Some base oil refiners will sell their best product and blend their "average" product into their finished lubes. Pennzoil/Quaker St. used to own half interest in a base oil refinery along with ConocoPhillips, but when Shell bought Pennz the FTC forced them to sell. Does Shell refine enough base oil here for Shell's supply and Pennz, QS, and Wolfshead?...if not, they'll buy. Go by the used oil analyses. Ken
The Pennzoil-ConocoPhillps operation is called Excel Paralubes. The proposed purchaser of the now Shell interest is Flint Hills Resources, who used to, but hasn't recently, been a player in the lubricant base stock industry. Interesting to me since Flint Hills runs the 290,000 bpd refinery nearby. They closed their lubricant refining there many years ago to focous on gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, and ashpalt production.
Originally posted by Mystic: What exactly is a blender?
It is a 'small kitchen appliance' that consists of a multi speed motor, housed under a clear glass or plastic container with a lid. Its purpose is to use the motor to drive a chopping blade to grind up the semi-solids in the container and mix with liquid. It is useful for making milkshakes, and or frozen mixed drinks. sorry. could not resist
Killer answer Ken2 [Patriot] ALL motor oils are blended! To say a motor oil is better because a company division makes basestocks and then supplies them to another division to blend motor oil is just silly logic. Even the big boys buy chemicals...... boxcar...define "best additives" - additives need to fit the oil and application. So best indeed to go by UOA and learn a little chemistry and tribology.
It doesn't matter to me one bit if the oil I buy is from a company who makes the entire stuff from scratch, or if they simply mix it together from different sources. The end result is all that matters, and the quality of the oil has nothing to do with whether or not they blend the oil themselves or get the different parts from other sources.
"does redline use the best additives like schaeffer does?" There are approx. a dozen additive suppliers supplying additive chemicals. You buy the best additive or additive package that works for your formulation. Which companies additives you buy and the exact mix is based upon your chemistry education, experience, and the lubricant specifications laid down by others. [ July 18, 2003, 03:00 PM: Message edited by: MolaKule ]
There are approx. a dozen additive suppliers supplying additive chemicals. You buy the best additive or additive package that works for your formulation. Which companies additives you buy and the exact mix is based upon your chemistry education, experience, and the lubricant specifications laid down by others.
I agree Patman that 90% of the time it probably doesn't matter, however, being there are a dozen or so suppliers, I would think it does have some impact. I would think in Amsoil's case, the Series 2000 oils use higher quality additive packages then there regular line up. [ July 18, 2003, 04:51 PM: Message edited by: buster ]
Mola, I thought Lubrizol sold everyone the "same add packages" [Razz] and was the only supplier in the US ?????? Isn't all oil the same ??? [Confused] [HAIL 2 U!] Yes this is a spoof. [ July 18, 2003, 05:05 PM: Message edited by: Terry ]
Where the oil companies are today, Amsoil was there 5 yrs ago and have moved on to higher ground.
I agree with Bob, Amsoil is not leaps and bounds ahead of anyone anymore. I think back in the early to mid 90's they were making oils that were much better, but I don't think this is true anymore. Take a look at the UOA section which is a great database, of how these oils really do. In the Great oil study on some guys's M3 website he quoted an Amsoil engineer about S2000 oil being 5yrs ahead of the competition. I would hardly say it's 5yrs ahead of the competition from what I've seen. If you also look at the VOA section, Molekule posted a Amsoil 10w-30 report which shows there is nothing special about that oil anymore. I think Amsoil's S3000 is there best oil they make. They have to make money just like any other company. [ July 19, 2003, 03:21 PM: Message edited by: buster ]
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