The calendar year is winding down, but one company livened the base oil market a bit this week with an unusually late announcement of price cuts. SK Lubricants informed customers that it will lower the posted price on its 4 centiStoke API Group III oil by 15 cents per gallon, reduce its 6 and 8 cSt oils by 25 cents per gallon and cut its 3 cSt Group II+ oil by 40 cents per gallon, all effective Jan. 1.
Otherwise activity has slowed, as the United States market typically does with the approach of the year-end holidays. Supply continued to outstrip demand, but the surplus appeared more manageable than in November, as suppliers have placed extra barrels in the spot market or have reduced operating rates when necessary. Nevertheless, spot prices lost some territory as downward price pressure persisted.
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