As Martin Preiss already pointed out on Twitter Tanel has already documented LOBREAD SQL Trace entry in Oracle 11.2 that the entries in the trace like LOBREAD are really referring to LOBs and that they probably came in with version 184.108.40.206.
Thus we knew that there was a schema change on the database on the new hardware. The next decisive hint was this piece in the raw trace (e.g. spotted again by Martin Berger):
FETCH #25:c=1154407,e=1152124,p=0,cr=102603,cu=0,mis=0,r=101 ,dep=0,og=1,tim=650755949521
FETCH #601010888:c=31200,e=22483,p=0,cr=3706,cu=50,mis=0, r=1 ,dep=0,og=1,plh=3621104505,tim=39783214696
Thus it looks like with the LOB we are retrieving one row at a time and without the lob we are doing an array fetch with 101 rows at a time. How is this possible when the program code is identical?
Can the existence of a LOB somehow inhibit array fetch?
Well, indeed it does, as documented here: Single Row Fetch from a LOB (Thanks Hemant).
Stefan Köhler pointed out, that it also depends on the driver: single row fetch depends on client.
Thus, when we change the LOB column to a varchar2 the new hardware was faster than the old one