Lube Study

Maintaining safe and reliable operations minimizes costs all while improving efficiency, utilization and yield. 


Base oil production is an integral part of the fuels’ refinery operations, providing an upgraded value to heavy stock material such as vacuum gas oils and residues. Additionally, it acts as a standalone business that supplies value and products to a specialty market outside the traditional transportation fuels.

Solomon's Worldwide Paraffinic Lube Refinery Performance Analysis (Lube Study) enables you
to assess your base oil refinery assets’ performance with a detailed gap analysis of your lube production. This is delivered through directly comparing your operations with those of best-in-class technology peers (hydroprocessing, solvent, and catalytic dewaxing).

  • Evaluate contemporary catalytic plants vs conventional solvent plants, by focusing on profitability and operational cost.
  • Gain a market view to determine manufacturing strategy, distinguishing between products such as base oils, specialty products, and light and heavy viscosity grades.
  • Participate in the study to obtain specific insights of your base oil refinery assets’ performance to guide your sustainability strategy and to act as a foundation for your performance improvement efforts.
Learn What's New in the Study


Over 50% of the total base oil refinery capacity worldwide participated in recent studies. Return on Investment for study participation attained by closing just 1% of identified gaps.

  • What are the causes that separate our plant from those that achieve best in class performance? (Figure 1)
  • How does my equipment utilization compare?
  • Are my operating expenses comparable to companies with similar facilities?
  • Do my facilities produce a competitive gross margin?
  • How do I compare to the global industry on the cost of production of lube, waxes, and specialties for Groups I, II, and III (Figure 2)?
    • How can I close these gaps?


Through the study, current methods and trends of today’s refining industry are highlighted to keep you informed on the status of your base oil facility in all key performance areas to stay competitive. Your facility can be benchmarked against many different Solomon peer groups, including the World’s Best Base Oil Refineries, Top 4 Hydro-Processing, and Top 4 Solvent-Based Technologies. Each metric compares your facility against the Leveraging our insight allows you to sustain or enhance your market position.

The study identifies key areas where additional value can be found to improve overall margin performance through operational cost savings or margin enhancements.

Figure 1. Opportunities to Capture Value

Figure 2. Cost to Produce Lube, Waxes & Specialties – Last Three Studies

How do your assets compare to the global industry on the cost of production of base oils, waxes, and specialties? The study will help you determine how and where to reduce operating costs, reducing the overall cost to produce base oils, waxes, and specialties and stay competitive for the long-term.

Why Participate?

  • Determine competitive positions using standard industry peer groups.
  • Develop customized peer groups to assess specific performance shortfalls.
  • Formulate expense/margin optimization plans to eliminate shortfalls.
  • Establish performance targets and measure progress using Solomon metrics.
  • Demonstrate performance/capability to joint-venture partners and financial institutions.

Study Deliverables

Study participants receive the following:

  • Performance rankings on a global, regional, and peer group basis for all performance areas
  • Metrics and indicators for all peer groups, including historical trends.
  • An economic gap analysis versus global high-performing peers.
  • An on-site presentation and discussion of study results.

Study Scope

Our benchmarking analysis covers all key performance areas to support improvement and operational excellence. Established metrics include:

  • Sustainability
  • Reliability & Maintenance
  • Staffing
  • Cost to Produce Lubes
  • Operating Expenses (OpEx)
Request More Information

Gain Actionable Insight

Learn How You Can Participate

Our robust performance benchmarking delivers actionable insights for continuous improvement. The competitive bar is being raised as never before. Are your facilities keeping up? Participate in the Lube Study to manage risks and set an achievable improvement plan for your base oil refineries.

Download Study Brochure Request a Consultation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A: The Lube Study is a comparative performance analysis that uses proprietary data to provide participants with a comprehensive assessment that helps you understand the trends of today’s base oil refining industry, keeps you informed on the status of your base oil facility in all key performance areas, and provides valuable information to act as a foundation for your performance improvement efforts.

A: Your facility can be benchmarked against many different Solomon peer groups, including the World’s Best Refineries, Top 4 Hydro-Processing, and Top 4 Solvent-Based Technologies. Your facility is compared against the worldwide population. For a range of metrics including energy efficiency, maintenance costs, gross margin, cost of production and much more. Leveraging our insight allows you to sustain or enhance your market position.

A: The study leverages data from the world’s largest database of global performance data for fuels and lube refiners to provide unique insights and maximize your return on investment. Over 50% of the total base oil refinery capacity worldwide participated in recent studies.

A: The Lube Study results can be leveraged in many ways to improve performance and give you specific insight to guide you on your reliability journey. Leverage study results to monetize your gaps, assess strengths and weaknesses, manage risk, set challenging but achievable improvement plans, and sustain or enhance your market position.

Data Quality, Benchmarking Methodology

A Foundation for Effective Comparative Performance Analysis and Decision Support

We prioritize the integrity and confidentiality of participant-submitted data and rigorously review that data before benchmarking begins. Then, we employ our normalization process and benchmarking methodology to provide valuable and trusted peer group comparisons that deliver meaningful KPIs. Finally, our staff of senior consultants apply their deep industry experience to develop practical insight and recommendations to enable your success.

Learn More

Featured Insight