BMW Drops Castrol for Shell as Official Oil Supplier

In a rather interesting move, BMW apparently dropped long-time partner Castrol in favor of Shell and its new cutting edge technology. It would seem like memos went out to all dealerships around the world since last month but there hasn’t been an official confirmation from either party up until now.
bmw b48 engine 1 photo
Photo: bmw
The Executive Vice President for Shell Lubricants, Mark Gainsborough was the first one to break the news saying: “We are honored to become the BMW’s recommended supplier of aftermarket engine oil. We look forward to jointly supplying, distributing and marketing these oils, as of start 2015. ”

The move is rather surprising, considering the long term relationship BMW and Castrol had prior to this decision. However, it would seem that it was based on deep research into what Shell has been working on for the last 40 years.

Their technology, called Shell PurePlus is a breakthrough in how engine oils are formulated and involves a patented process called gas-to-liquid or GTL. Basically, the company now has the technology to convert natural gas into a crystal-clear base oil. That means the main component of finished oils is no longer obtained from crude oil.

Shell’s base oil is being made at the Pearl GTL plant in Qatar, thanks to a partnership with Qatar Petroleum. However, customers will be getting their Shell products for their BMWs starting with 2015.

Where does that leave current BMW owners?

It’s pretty clear that new cars will be coming already filled with Shell oil but what about current BMW owners? Will they have to change the oil type as well?

At the moment, we don’t have an official answer. Specialists recommend sticking to the original oil your car has been using. Therefore, if you’ve been using Castrol’s products so far, you should keep going but the question is whether BMW will still provide oils made by them in the future for cars that are still in warranty.

There’s a big chance they won’t so the question that arises is how will they make the switch. The recommended method includes washing out the leftover oil from inside the engine and then using Shell’s product but that is a tedious job that costs a pretty penny. Just taking out the Castrol-sourced oil and then using Shell’s doesn’t make sense either as they will have different characteristics and might cause several problems. We’ll have to wait and see if an official answer is provided.
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