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Taking Phillips 66 Lubricants To The Edge Of The Arctic Circle 

The Arctic Canadian Diamond Mine is located in the far reaches of the Northwest Territories on the edge of the Arctic Circle and is accessible only by ice roads during the winter. The ice roads are only open for a short period of time, so there is a very limited window to have products delivered before the ice roads close. When their previous supplier was not able to deliver the lubricants they needed, the mine turned to Phillips 66 Lubricants and Star West Petroleum for support. Because of their isolated location, the mine has a short 30–45-day period to receive all the products they need for production each year. 

“They were looking for about 80,000 gallons of Powerdrive® Synthetic Arctic TO-4 Fluid, which is significantly more than the yearly amount of that product that we sell,” said Alan Stitt, Director of Business Development, West Region. 

“So, we were starting from ground zero from a base oil standpoint, ground zero from an additive standpoint, ground zero from a production standpoint, ground zero from a railcar availability and knowledge of railcar costing…It was teamwork on our side across the board and with Star West across the board,” he said. 

Multiple teams, from supply chain and operations to base oils and pricing, coordinated together and with Star West Petroleum to produce and transport the product before the end of the delivery window. Four railcars delivered the lubricant to the city of Yellowknife, where it was then loaded onto trucks and transported across the ice roads to reach the Arctic Canadian Diamond Mine. 

“Pulling it all together in a time frame to meet their criteria, it was really a tremendous response by everybody,” said Phillips 66 Account Manager Dennis “Duck” Hammons. 

Joshua Mercer, the Director of Technical Services and Training at Star West Petroleum, traveled up into the Northwest Territories to oversee the offloading process and ensure the product wasn’t impacted by the subfreezing temperatures during transport. 

“The pressure was immense. This is a pretty critical product for any mining operation,” said Mercer. “It was challenging. There was a lot of problem-solving, just making sure we had everything to offload that equipment, but once we got things rolling, the guys up there, the contractors looking after the hauling and trans load have done a good job for us.”