EMEA Base Oil Price Report


Base oil markets were subdued the past week thanks to the Ramadan, Passover and Easter holidays that allowed some buyers and sellers to take three-day weekends or longer vacations.

On the supply side, sources reported good availability for all types of base oil and the diesel premium to crude sinking to its lowest level in almost a year, although it remains high. At the same time, there are indications that inflation may have started to come under control in some of the major economies around the globe, hence interest rates may not have to move much higher to curb the inflationary cycle.

Crude oil prices nevertheless have remained higher than a couple of weeks ago after the cartel of OPEC and other oil-producing nations agreed to limit production from a number of sources. If crude values remain high, it could reignite inflation.

All aspects are finely balance at the moment, and the direction in which certain factors evolve will control demand for materials such as base oils and other commodities.

Around Europe, blenders remain determined not to launch into a purchasing spree, since ample availability of base oils means there is not a need to fill storage tanks with costly inventories that may take time to turn around. Buyers are still taking minimum quantities of all types of base oil – a pattern that has now endured for an unprecedented length of time. But perhaps this year is indeed unlike any other.

The refinery maintenance season is beginning in Europe, and a number of refineries either have started turnarounds or are planning to temporarily shut down in coming months. This would normally cause some tightening of supply for API Group I and Group II base oil availabilities, but lackluster demand and the ongoing war in Ukraine make prospects uncertain.

Crude oil prices have remained at their new highs established after the decision by OPEC+. Dated deliveries of Brent crude rose around $1 per barrel by last Thursday to $85.05 per barrel, for June front month settlement. West Texas Intermediate crude was basically flat from last week at $80.65/bbl, still for May front month.

Low-sulfur gas oil prices fell around $20 per metric ton from last week to $778 per metric ton, for April front month. These prices were obtained from London ICE trading late April 6.


With a shorter working week and Monday being a national holiday across Europe and in many other countries, there was no word of changes in offers for Group I exports from the continent. Only a couple export deals were reported completed – one for a cargo of 12,000 tons of three Group I grades moving out of Livorno, Italy, for receivers in Nigeria. There has been a noticeable drop in the quantities of Russian material moving from the Baltic to West Africa, and traders are opting to turn instead to European or United States sources.

There are problems involved in shipping, financing and insuring Russian sourced material for any European domiciled trader, hence it is simpler and ethically correct to take base oils from alternative sources that are approved and accepted by all concerned. Lukoil does continue to offer supplies of material from their terminal in Svetly, but how these deals are transacted financially remains unknown.

Turkey is taking more material from mainstream European sources such as Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam, German ports and from the Mediterranean. One cargo of around 6,000 tons has loaded out of two northern ports and will discharge in a Spanish port before carrying the balance to Derince, Turkey.

Russian supplies into Turkey appear to have lessened, possibly due to containment problems in Turkish ports such as Gebze, or there may be other logistical problems affecting supplies of material out of Kaliningrad.

Other base oil shipments are happening, but these almost all come under the umbrella of affiliate supplies, with material moving from Northwestern Europe to Mediterranean hubs and also to South Africa for oil majors.

Prices for Group I exports are unchanged at between $920 per ton and $955/t for solvent neutral 150, and $1,025/t-$1,075/t for SN500. Bright stock prices are quoted at $1,240/t-$1,275/t.

A week ago there were signs that European buyers of European Group I oils were starting to think about rebuilding inventories, but that now looks like a false start. Some parties are said to have been looking at taking larger quantities of Group I grades, fearing that the latest crude hikes may start to impinge on prices over the next few weeks, but whether the effect of shorter working weeks or some other factor, purchasing still has not taken off.

Demand remains sluggish, although there have been some noticeable upbeat comments heard regarding demand for finished lubricants. This news, in turn, should promote sales of base oils.

Availability of Group I base stocks is reported as good, with no supply chain problems advised for any grades. The strikes in France continue to pose difficulties for supply of lube additives.

Prices for Group I sales within Europe remain around €1,000/t-€1,050/t for SN150, €1,145/t-€1,175/t for SN500 and around €1,295/t for bright stock.

The euro has stabilized against the U.S dollar, posting on Monday 10th April at $1.08982. The differential between domestic and export pricing remains in the same band as last reported – €120/t-€210/t, with export prices being lower.

Demand appears to be undergoing a spring uptick, at the Group II market seems to be in a healthier state than Group l – possibly signaling that the European market is undergoing a shift to premium base oils. 

European Group II base oil markets remain stable following the price adjustments made over the past month – at $1,135/t-$1,240/t (€1,050/t-€1,150) for 100 neutral, 150N and 220N and at $1,350/t-$1,425/t (€1,250/t-€1,320/t) for 600N. There was word last week of 600N being priced at €1,400/t, but this was unconfirmed and may be taken with a pinch of salt.

These prices apply to a wide range of Group II base oils from Europe, the U.S., Asia-Pacific and Red Sea sources, imported either in bulk or in flexi-tanks

European Group III markets are reporting more further cargoes being organized from the Middle East Gulf, including a parcel from Sitra, Bahrain, expected to load near the end of April for Rotterdam discharge. This will be in addition to the cargo of 7,000 tons which loaded at the end of March for the same traders, Stasco.

Group III oils with full slates of finished lubricant approvals from Cartagena, Spain, remain under an allocation, with no signs of reprieve.

Large trans-shipments from Cartagena are moving into Rotterdam. including a 17,000 ton parcel loaded early April for that destination. Another cargo of the same size has also loaded out of Cartagena for receivers in Mumbai anchorage, meaning that the supplier is using the European source rather than Korean production to meet requirements on the West Coast of India.

Prices for Group III oils with partial slates of approvals have not changed much, although news filtered down last week that a couple suppliers were offering lower prices around the market, perhaps trying to buy market share. These are new entrants to the market from Korea, and whether the specifications and quality of the imports will be acceptable to the European market is debatable.

Offers have been heard as low as €1,700/t for 4 centiStoke grade. Prices are assessed at €1,700/t-€1,850/t for 4 and 6 cSt, while 8 cSt, where available, is at €1,765/t-€1,785/t, all on an FCA basis ex Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam or Northwestern Europe.

Prices for fully-approved Group III are at €2,050/t-€2,100/t for 4 and 6 cSt at at €1,955/t-€2,005/t for 8 cSt, though European demand for the latter grade is low. These prices are for FCA sales from hubs in Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam, Northwestern Europe and Spain.

Baltic and Black Seas

Baltic trade appears to be in poor shape, with few if any Russian export cargoes moving out of Svetly, Riga or St Petersburg. The shipping inquiries to move large parcels from Kaliningrad to Turkey remain as inquiries. Whether this is a function of receivers being unable to accommodate further large quantities into storage, or whether there are logistical problems with finding suitable vessels is not known.

There is an offered cargo to move material from Svetly to Hamriyah in the United Arab Emirates, but the usual difficulties will prevail for this trade, those being the voyage time and the tying up of capital in a letter of credit prior to loading. The voyage could take up to six weeks from loading to discharge. There is another offer on the table for 5,000 tons of Russian export barrels to load out of Limas terminal in Turkey for the sale seller, Lukoil. This quantity will be supplied from Volgograd refinery via the Black Sea and will then be trans-shipped to the U.A.E. if the sale is successful. This cargo has more chance of being fixed due to the shorter voyage time and the smaller quantity of the cargo, which can be more easily handled at the discharge port.

FOB prices from Svetly have risen, but each deal stands on its own merits, so it is very difficult to define the exact number attributable to Russian export barrels coming out of Svetly terminal. SN 150 levels are indicated at $790/t-$825/t, with SN 500 at $820/t-$860/t. However, each deal is different, and offers for delivered prices can be heavily discounted. The nominal FOB levels will depend on destination and receivers and also terms of payment, which can vary from one receiver to another.  

FOB prices for Group I material from Gdansk refinery for material that will become available from mid-April are aligned with European mainstream pricing, with SN 150 assessed at $930/t-$965/t, SN 500 at $1,040/t-$1,085/t, depending on destination. Bright stock will be at $1,260/t-$1,300/t.

Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean regions contain news that few new imports of Russian material are managing to enter the market. More cargoes are shipping from mainstream European sources such as Livorno, Aghio and Augusta, in addition to the cargo loaded out of Hamburg and Antwerp, which will discharge first in Tarragona and then deliver the balance to Derince port.

Imports from Livorno and Aghio recently had CIF-delivered prices offered at $1,015/t for quantities of SN 150, with SN 500 and SN 600 at $1,160/t. Bright stock may be included from Livorno at a price level around $1,325/t CIF Gebze or Derince.

Tupras still has availability of Group I base oil grades spindle, SN 150, SN 500 and bright stock. Updated prices are not available yet, but last known numbers are in Turkish lira, with dollar equivalents put at $915/t for spindle, $1,060/t for SN 500, with bright stock at $1,270/t. Prices are based on ex-rack truck sales.

Group II ex-tank prices remain unchanged, assessed at €1,135/t-€1,200/t for the three lower vis products – 100N, 150N and 220N – with 600N at €1,325/t-€1,420/t. Supplies of Group II grades can be sourced from Red Sea, the United States, South Korea and Rotterdam or hub storage in Valencia.

Partly-approved Group III base oils, sold by appointed distributors on an FCA basis or on a road tank wagon-delivered basis, are assessed at €1,865/t-€1,900/t. Fully-approved Group III grades delivered into Gemlik from SK in Cartagena are priced at around €2,250/t-€2,300/t FCA.

Middle East

Red Sea reports contain news of a 15,000-ton cargo that loaded at the end of March for receivers in both Mumbai anchorage and Hamriyah. The cargo split between the two ports is not known. This cargo will be followed by another large parcel of 18,200 tons, which will load out of Yanbu and Jeddah for four U.A.E. destinations. In normal rotation, these ports will be Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Hamriyah and lastly, Jebel Ali. The various quantities for each location are unknown, and the discharge rotation may not be as noted.  The cargo will comprise of both Group II and Group I base oils.

Two Group I base oil cargoes sourced from Rayong in Thailand will discharge into Ras al Khaimah port in the U.A.E. These are not large parcels but are at 2,000-4,000 tons each. At the same time, another cargo of Iranian rubber process oils will load for export to South Korea. These movements appear to have become regular trades, with now three cargoes being moved during the last three months. The limitations are believed to be getting sufficient quantities of rubber process oils out of Iran to make up each cargo.  

The other notable offers for Group I base oils coming into the U.A.E. are the two proposals from Lukoil for one cargo of 7,500 tons to load out of Svetly in the Baltic for receivers in Hamriyah. For reasons already discussed, this option is not favorable to buyers in the U.A.E. because of voyage time and tying up of capital in a letter of credit that has to be opened and operable prior to the vessel loading. Finding acceptable vessels to receivers may also be a problem, with sanctions affecting the ability of Russian companies to charter third party vessels.

The other option is a 5,000-ton parcel out of Limas terminal in Turkey, which will have shorter voyage time. Acceptable Turkish flagged vessels are more likely to be available around Marmara than the Baltic.

Prices offered are expected to be very attractive to buyers in the U.A.E., with sellers becoming more and more desperate to move quantities of base oils out of their two Russian refineries. With a temporary hold on the Turkish market, Lukoil has lost an important destination for quantities of Group I base oils.

The strange practices of the Middle East Gulf markets are never ending, with a situation where a cargo of 5,000-ton of Group I base oils is being organized from Chennai to go into Hamriyah port. At the same time, a 5,000-ton parcel, presumably of Group I base oils, will load in Hamriyah and will be sold into receivers in Singapore. 

Further cargoes of Group III base oil exports from the Middle East Gulf are advised, with two cargoes from Sitra in Bahrain moving to the United States and Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam. The first is a cargo of 7,650 tons for receivers in Houston, while the second parcel will be comprised of 8,100 tons of Group III base oils for Stasco, which will be imported into Rotterdam. This parcel will load towards the end of April.

Meanwhile, Adnoc will load a cargo of up to 10,000 tons for receivers in Mumbai anchorage around current dates on a prompt basis. The final news is that the extremely large parcel of gas-to-liquids-generated Group III+ base stocks out of Ras Laffan in Qatar has been fixed clean and has loaded up to around 28,000 tons for discharge into Mumbai port and Sohar. The largest part of the cargo will go into Mumbai – around 24,500 tons – while the balance will be discharged in Sohar. Both parcels will enter the Shell system in each location.

Group III netbacks for partly-approved and non-approved base oils loaded out of Al Ruwais and Sitra are maintained, as per the last report, with resale prices in the regions reported as stable. Netback returns are assessed at $1,745/t-$1,795/t, for the range of 4 centiStoke, 6 cSt and 8 cSt partly-approved Group III base oils.

Netback levels are based on local FCA prices in markets such as Europe, India, the U.S., and China. Netback levels are derived from regional selling prices, less marketing, margins, handling and estimated freight costs.

Group II base oils sold on an FCA basis in the U.A.E. are sourced out of European, U.S, Asia-Pacific and Red Sea producers. These grades are available ex-tank U.A.E., or on a truck-delivered basis within the U.A.E. and Oman. Prices remain unchanged, with levels at $1,420/t-$1,465/t for the light vis grades, with 600N at $1,495/t-$1,535/t. The high ends of the ranges refer to road tank wagon-delivered base oils.

An example of this trade is a cargo of 8,000 tons of Group II grades will load out of Ulsan in South Korea and will take the product to the U.A.E., where the cargo will discharge into either Hamriyah or Jebel Ali. 


South African shipping sources confirmed another large cargo loading out of Rotterdam and Fawley. It will discharge in Durban with the bulk of the cargo and is then sailing to Mombasa with the balance of the parcel, which will total around 22,000 tons of base oils. The cargo will load this week or next in Rotterdam and then sail to Fawley.

West African reports are all centered on Nigeria, where at least on “normal” export cargo of 12,000 tons in total from Livorno was confirmed. It is assumed that a financial instrument in the form of a letter of credit was satisfactorily opened to sellers from the local bank in Nigeria.

Another cargo will load this week or next from the U.S. Gulf Coast, with a relatively large quantity of Group I base oils on board. The cargo will discharge in Onne port, due to draft restrictions in Apapa port.

Another cargo may load during May for the same trader although some regular traders appear to have taken a rain check in dealing with Nigeria and have been missing from the market for the last couple of months. 

Lukoil so far have been unsuccessful in fixing the 5,000-tons cargo of Russian export barrels out of Svetly terminal to go into Apapa, and there is no news of further shipping enquiries to handle this cargo. The processing of letters of credit, which are necessary for import licenses to be granted for base oil cargoes is unclear how a Russian entity such as Lukoil or Litasco can have confirmation added to the letters of credit. Suggestions have been made that letters of credit issued to Russian traders are unconfirmed. and therefore, are more risk orientated than having a confirmed letter of credit from a prime European bank.

CFR prices for European material sourced from the Mediterranean were put at around $910/t for SN 150, SN 500 at around $990/t, and SN 900 is priced at around $1,050/t. FOB levels from European suppliers such as Eni in Livorno will not justify low numbers such as these.

Realistic levels for cargoes loading imminently have CFR levels confirmed at $1,010/t-$1,020/t for SN 150, SN 500 at $1,050/t-$1,060/t, and SN 900 at $1,130/t-$1,145/t. Bright stock is estimated at around $1,320/t CFR Apapa on cargoes from Rotterdam and Fawley, and also Livorno, unless bright stock has been used to blend with SN 500 prior to loading, or during loading, to produce SN 900.

Future offers for cargoes further down the line, arriving perhaps during June, will have higher prices – particularly for SN 900, which will require quantities of bright stock for blending. CFR prices are assessed for SN 150 at around $1,025/t-$1,040/t, with SN 500 at $1,075/t-$1,095/t and SN 900 at $1,155/t-$1,175/t.

Ray Masson is director of Pumacrown Ltd., a trader and broker of petroleum products in London, U.K. Contact him directly at pumacrown@email.com.

Lubes’n’Greases shall not be liable for commercial decisions based on the contents of this report.

Archived base oil price reports can be found through this link: https://www.lubesngreases.com/category/base-stocks/other/base-oil-pricing-report/

Historic and current base oil pricing data are available for purchase in Excel format.

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