Lubricants Handling & Storage

Petro-Canada Lubricants lubricating oils and greases are the result of considerable research and development work; they are carefully manufactured and delivered, for optimum product performance. During storage it is important to guard against contamination, which can drastically impact the performance and life of a lubricant. Numerous studies have shown that both water and dirt can decrease the life of bearings and other components. Preventing contamination during storage has a direct pay-back in terms of ensuring optimum lubricant performance, longer lubricant life and reduced maintenance costs.

Lubricants should preferably be stored inside. However, even then there are certain precautions that should be followed:

  • The temperature of the storage area should remain moderate and not be subject to wide fluctuations.

  • The storage area should be located away from industrial contamination, such as fumes or dust.

  • The storage area and dispensing equipment should be clean and be part of a regular cleaning schedule.

  • Labels, stencils, markings on containers and dispensing equipment should be kept legible to avoid cross-contamination or incorrect application.

  • All oils should use separate dispensing equipment.

  • The oldest dated product that is required should be used first (First IN First OUT).

  • Grease tubes should be stored vertically, rather than horizontally.

If outside storage is unavoidable, then the following additional precautions should be followed:

  • Ensure that the bungs on drums are screwed in tight.

  • Store drums horizontally, with bungs below the oil level (i.e. at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock). This prevents the seals from drying out and leaking.

  • Drums stored on their sides should be clear of the ground and preferably rest on wooden or steel beams. They may be stacked three high if wedged properly to prevent movement.

  • Stacking often results in the bottom drums never being used, so the use of a rack is preferred.

  • Do not store drums on end with the bungs on top. Rain water collects on the drum head and is drawn into the oil when the drum breathes during temperature cycles. If drums must be stored this way, they should be tilted first by standing on edge (say on a 2 x 4 piece of lumber) with the bungs parallel to the tilt. When oil is drawn from the drum, the head should be wiped clean first.

  • Drums should preferably be covered with a tarpaulin or plastic drum cover to protect them from the elements.

  • To minimize contamination and the effects of weathering, time spent in outdoor storage should be kept to a minimum.

  • Outdoor storage locations should be away from dusty areas such as quarries or unpaved roads. Opening drums in such conditions will contaminate the contents.

  • Smaller package sizes (e.g. pails) and larger package sizes (e.g. Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs)) should be properly stored, covered, examined regularly and kept to a minimum inventory to provide a quick turnover.

  • For product delivered in plastic IBCs, they must be stored out of direct sunlight. These packages have minimal UV protective qualities, and exposure to direct sunlight may cause discoloration of the oil.

  • Plastic IBCs should not be used for long term storage outside.

Lubricating oils and greases are a relatively harmless class of material. Nevertheless, care should be taken to avoid skin contact and inhalation of oil mists. There are Safety Data Sheets (SDS) on all Petro-Canada Lubricants products which are available from your sales representative, customer order management representative (COMR) or can be accessed on the website,

Some general guidelines for handling lubricating oils and greases are as follows:

  • Use personal protective equipment to avoid skin contact. This may also include the use of a barrier cream to reduce direct contact.

  • Quickly remove any product that does get on the skin.

  • Do not use gasoline, kerosene or similar solvents to remove lubricants from the skin as they take the natural oils from the skin and cause dryness.

  • Use only mild soap and warm water or a recommended hand cleaner to remove lubricating oil and grease from the skin. Dry the skin using clean hand towels.

  • Wash hands and arms at the end of the working day and before eating and smoking.

  • Remove any contaminated clothing and clean thoroughly before re-use.

  • Avoid breathing in oil mists.

  • Clean-up lubricating oil and grease spills immediately and dispose of them according to environmental guidelines.

  • Obtain medical advice concerning any potential health problems.

  • Take special consideration to prevent any injection into the skin (hydraulics, pneumatics, pressurized delivery equipment, etc.)

Always refer to product SDS for specific safety and handling requirements.