PORDENONE, Italy - As a specially equipped Mini Countryman enters a huge hangar in Pordenone Fiere to make a pit stop, Stanislav Doroshenko and G-Energy team are ready to quickly service the vehicle. The car is part of the strenuous Italian Baja 25th edition Cross Country Rally World Cup. The wheels are taken off and members of the team's technical crew get to work on the car. Stanislav is taking an oil sample for testing to consult the technies.
"They can see the full condition of the car," Doroshenko, who heads the Centre of technical competence at Gazpromneft Lubricants Ltd., told New Europe in Russian. "It's a racing product but you can use it as well for commercial purposes, as it's freely available on the market" he said.
Watching the process Federica Martiniello, Marketing Supervisor of Gazpromneft Lubricants Italia Sp.A., says the Italian Baja rally is a very important project to test the company's product. "We use our mobile laboratory to see how the lubricants work in very hard operative positions and then we can take this technological knowledge we take from the race and bring into the lubricants we use for all of our customers," she told New Europe in an interview as the sound of air wrench echoes though the massive, mostly empty hangar.
"At the same time it is a very good opportunity for visibility of our company in a very competitive and technological type of races," Martiniello said, speaking in English in a strong Italian accent.
She explained that the conditions during a rally are very high and stressful for the lubricants. "You can understand from the characteristics of the oils how the engine is working so you can detect in advance any problem that the engine could have and the lubricants can give its contribution to the best possible results of the race. So it's a component that it's hidden inside the car but is doing its work in the best way," Martiniello said.
Gazpromneft Lubricants Italia opened 10 years ago and is an affiliate of the company established in Moscow. "In these 10 years, we grew our market share consistently from zero to 4.5%. Considering that we are in a very mature market with a lot of very strong and ancient competitors, we consider this a good result and we hope that we can continue growing our market share," Martiniello said.
"For this we are implementing a lot of projects. We're increasing our product line in the automotive and industrial sector. We're launching new lines dedicated to special channels, for example in wind turbines, for renewable energy and also for biodegradable products for agriculture, forestry and other activities that require attention to the environment. We have a lot of projects that we hope that we bring the company to grow in the future," she said, adding that the company has a complete network of distributors in Italy.
"We have 13 distributors, our office is located in Rome and the plant is located in Bari. In Bari, we produce around 30,000 tonnes of lubricants and have more or less one distributor in each region. The products are being sold in 72 countries and the sales volume increased by 12% in 2017" Martiniello said, adding that Gazpromneft Lubricants Italia also sells products in Spain, Portugal, and France directly from Italy while all the other countries in Europe are covered by the central office of Moscow.
Martiniello explains that rally products are a very a small segment. "We produce racing products in Bari and they are used for the races and also race passionate and people who have a very technological and modern racing car, for example, Porsche, Ferrari but that's not a very big commercial segment. These types of products are like a flagship for the company to demonstrate our ability to produce very technological oil because they are completely synthetic, with very high quality additives and require a lot of technology to be produced," the Italian representative said.
Asked about protecting the environment and climate, which is a EU priority, Martiniello said her company is working on two sides on this aspect. "First of all, our plant in Bari is compliant with the more recent and strict regulation about the environment. We reduced the emission of the plant to zero thanks to particular technological filters. For example, we were the first to introduce a package made of 100 percent recyclable plastic and we also introduced a very modern project of cleaning of the use of waters inside Bari plants and we use this water coming from the plant to water a green area near our plant. The purpose of this is to understand from the health of the trees how the water produced of the plant are, if they are clean or not. In this way we can understand if we are creating pollution to the environment and take the situation under control so we take a lot of measure in our production plant to avoid damage to the environment," she said. "At the same time, we developed products with technological additives ... that they increase the oil change and help to reduce emissions. We also produce biodegradable products that are used for some specific purpose, for example in agriculture that don't pollute the ground if they leak on the ground. We're making a lot of efforts as a company to avoid damage to the environment."
"I know mainly the European market and the legislation is very strict on this matter," she said, asked about EU laws protecting the environment. "For example, the recent legislation about the safety phrases to put on the labeling and other information to give to the customer. We have a very strict legislation to comply also considering that our plants in Bari complied with the strictest ISO 9001 and there are a lot of things to do to be aligned but that's very important for the environment," Martiniello said, concluding: "It's something that we have to do!"
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(Denis Bushkovskiy, Gazpromneft Lubricants' photograph)