UK reach complicates UK-related base oil trade


Companies importing and exporting base oils, additives and lubricants to and from the UK face the prospect of additional administrative and testing costs as the country prepares a new regulatory framework from the start of 2021.

UK Reach, a new regulatory framework independent of EU Reach, will come into effect from 1 January 2021 when the UK exits the European Union.

Regulation, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction (Reach) is an EU regulation that protects human health and environment from risks that can be posed by chemicals. UK Reach will retain the objectives but operate separately from EU Reach and will not be within the jurisdiction of the European Courts of Justice. It will not be a member of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

UK Reach will impact UK-based companies that import base oils, additives and finished lubricants from the EEA, UK-based companies that export chemical products, including base oils and finished lubricants to the EEA and EEA-based companies that export base oils, additives and finished lubricants to the UK.

UK lubricant manufacturers are contacting suppliers to check the registration status of EU and UK markets for each chemical component. Some of the finished lubricant components, such as additive packages, are chemical mixtures requiring checks down to the beginning of the supply chain, which is adding an administrative burden to companies.

“The UK Lubricants Association (UKLA) is working with member companies to understand the implications arising from the implementation of a UK Reach regulation and the impact on the availability of speciality chemicals on the UK market in 2021,” director general David Wright said.

To facilitate the transition, the UK government has allowed a two-year time period for UK-based and EEA-based companies to submit technical information to gain UK Reach. Where data may not be available or insufficient to meet requirements, testing would be necessary. Obtaining data from testing within a two-year time period may be challenging and have cost implications.

UK-based companies with EU Reach registrations can carry across the registration to UK Reach. The company must provide basic information within 120 days of the regulation coming into force, followed by technical information within two years of that date.

UK-based exporters of chemical substances to the EU/EEA market would need to transfer their registrations to an EU/EEA-based legal entity or support their EU/EEA-based importers to become registrants. UK exporters could provide support by sharing technical data with customers.

EU-based companies with EU Reach registration will be able to notify the HSE of their intention to maintain operations in the UK market by submitting a Downstream User Import Notification within 180 days of UK Reach coming into force. This must be followed by a new registration to gain UK Reach within two years to retain UK market access.

Argus Media, 10 June 2020