Have you met Calumet? Find out about one of the world’s leading specialty products manufacturers

A transformed company

In June, we featured renewable diesel producer Montana Renewables, the sustainably focused segment of the Calumet family. In this issue of Energy, Oil & Gas, we turn our attention to Calumet’s broader business, exploring its history, increasing emphasis on sustainability, and rapidly growing host of capabilities.

While many of its businesses are more than 100 years old, Calumet in its current form was founded in 1990 with the purchase of a Princeton, Louisiana-based naphthenic lubes facility. Since then, the company has transformed into a well-refined and profitable powerhouse within the specialty products business niche. Growth inevitably means progress, and with Calumet it is no different. The company has ventured out into new terrain over the last three decades, blazing trails in areas that naturally supplement its existing footprint.

Now one of the most highly integrated specialty products players in the industry, that growth mindset has undoubtedly paid dividends. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Calumet operates in over 90 countries from ten integrated production and formulation facilities across the US and a host of distribution points. The company is split into three distinct segments: specialty products and solutions; performance brands; and, as mentioned previously, Montana Renewables, where Calumet is currently focused on converting a large part of its Great Falls facility into an innovative, renewable feedstock processing plant.

Across its businesses, Calumet finds solutions to sustain and enhance life’s essential products – from the tires on your car to the balm on your lips – and delivers them to medical and pharmaceutical, industrial, personal care, transportation, energy and chemical, food and agriculture, and home and electronics markets.

Products include base oils, food grade white oils, solvents, esters, waxes, petrolatum, fuels, asphalts, finished lubricants, greases, horticultural spray oils, renewables, and gels. Base ingredients such as these find their way into familiar household items like ointments, baby oil, lubricants, paints, and candles. Calumet also owns high-end retail and industrial brands such as Royal Purple, TruFuel, Bel-Ray, and Orchex.

Offering us an insight into the behind-the-scenes operations and progressive ethos of Calumet is company CEO, Todd Borgmann. “This business has been built one customer, one product, and one asset at a time,” says Todd. “We are building partnerships that can evolve to meet current business needs. This mindset allows us to serve our customers differently and, as a result, we have cultivated a deeply integrated business and a rich culture of innovation – both of which are core competitive advantages for Calumet.

“To give you an overview of the asset base, our four facilities in northwest Louisiana operate as one cohesive specialty unit,” he continues. “Here, we have tight distillation capabilities, and a broad array of hydro-treating, dewaxing, and blending competencies. Next, we have six upgrading and distribution facilities where we can upgrade base stocks into complex food grade and pharmaceutical products or create finished branded products that serve retail channels through our high-performance lines. With our diverse, integrated asset base, we simply can do things others cannot.”

For those who value innovation and operational optimization, Calumet offers a seemingly endless number of opportunities. The Indiana-based company is committed to deploying unique solutions to clients’ problems, and that has not gone unnoticed. As Todd goes on to explain, the company has built a strong reputation and separates itself from competitors by identifying and addressing these needs.

“We provide more than 1800 products to more than 2500 customers around the world,” Todd details. “With each client, we apply our innovative spirit. We also look at our ability to serve evolving demands. The pivot at Montana Renewables you wrote about previously is a great example of Calumet’s ability to move quickly to fill a need. In two short years, our team has transformed our Great Falls asset and positioned us as a leader in producing Renewable Diesel (RD) and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), two of the highest growth markets in energy.

“We can innovate at scale, and in times like we’re seeing today where customers’ needs are evolving quickly, Calumet can shine.” reveals Todd. “We’re also seeing interest in sustainable specialty options, and we are very excited to further deploy our growing expertise in sustainable markets across Calumet’s specialty offering.

“In fact, we have already begun to do so, and I am proud to share two recent examples,” he comments. “First, our highest growth product this year is BioMax. This bio-friendly lubricant developed for the global shipping market performs at an incredibly high level. Also, in the near future we’ll roll out a wax product designed to meet the needs of environmentally conscious candle customers. Both of these examples demonstrate our commitment to doing things differently – for both our clients and the planet – without sacrificing the quality and performance that our customers rely on.”

For Calumet, the next six months are set to be an exciting period; the company expects to see the culmination of several years of work from both Montana Renewables and its specialty business. “Currently, at Montana Renewables, we are in a commissioning phase, and we’ll be running within weeks,” says Todd. “And our specialty business is performing as well as I can remember.

“Looking beyond that is yet more exciting,” he concludes. “In Montana we have a big opportunity to continue to expand, develop even more local feedstocks, and grow into the largest SAF producer in North America! In our specialty business we have a number of high-return projects that will further integrate our business, increase the optionality we offer our customers, and ultimately deepen the competitive advantage that Calumet has today.”