30 January 2014

Thoughts for 2014

I’m having my morning coffee in a hotel breakfast room, and watching how the city wakes up and gets to full speed. By now also the business year has reached its normal tempo after the holiday season. Plans and targets for the year have been set, and now calendars are full of meetings and workshops.

My days are not different from that. Implementing our strategy for base oils fills my agenda. Building a global footprint and offering a single top-tier base oil slate is our key theme. Underneath we have detailed regional plans in Europe, Americas, and Asia. We have a long history in the European market, and we keep developing and enhancing our offering in Europe to remain as a preferred partner to our customers. In North and South America, we have established our position in past few years, and now our target is to strengthen this position. We have also become a supplier to the growing Asian market, and we have a long term goal to service customers in Asia. Our aim is to build offering, which supports our key customers in reaching their business targets in Asian top-tier lubricants market.

I mentioned offering, but what does it really mean in Group III base oils? To us it means being a formulation partner, so that NEXBASE® base oils can be used globally in the top-tier lubricant formulations. The target is that our products continue to be approved in a wide range of formulations globally, and therefore, our technical team remains busy with a portfolio of projects.

Another important aspect relates to product supplies. We focus on offering security of supply, consistent product quality, and growing volume, which fulfills our customers’ needs. Production teams in Porvoo and Bahrain have reached important milestones last year in bringing the plant performance to new level, and work continues this year with new targets related to production volume and product quality. We have sufficient capacity in Porvoo and Bahrain base oil units to supply the current demand for NEXBASE® base oils, and there is still improvement potential in these units. We plan to increase NEXBASE® availability by 100-200 ktpa in next few years according the growing demand. Besides improvements in the current units, we consider adding NEXBASE® supply via commercial agreements with suitable third-party producers.

There is also a share of time booked for longer term projects, such as next generation products. Some projects focus on enhancing and differentiating the current product quality, but we also work on totally new base oils product from renewable raw materials. To mention one more highlight from my calendar, I just had an inspiring workshop with my colleagues about how we want to serve our customers. We build on our long-term relationships with our base oils customers, and our key driver is to create sustainable successful business for all parties. Our sales, marketing, and customer service teams implement new ways of working, which focus on enhancing response to customers’ needs, but also on finding new opportunities, which are interesting to our customers and Neste Oil.

So, these are the topics, which I will be working on, and hopefully I will meet many of you around these during this year. It will be interesting again to follow through how everything goes. If I look back last year for my family, it probably gives a nice example how things may evolve. First, during spring we bought an apartment, which literally met all our wishes. Many said that we were so lucky to be able to buy an apartment like that in Helsinki city center. I admit that there was an element of luck as well, but actually in the background there was a clear vision about what we wanted, systematic search, a lot of patience, and we reacted immediately when the right one became available. Then some time later, we packed everything again, and now we are settled down in a lovely place in Geneva. In a same way, we will see successes in the projects, where we have now devoted our efforts, but we have also made new decisions when different opportunities have arisen.

I wish a lot of success to all of you in implementing your projects and catching new opportunities!

Virpi Amoedo
Vice President, Base Oils