EMEA Base Oil Price Report


Crude and feedstocks rallied early this week, with dated deliveries of Brent crude breaching the $90 level Monday, putting on around $3 from last week’s prices. It’s difficult to say whether this is a function of demand picking up or whether production cutbacks by Saudi Arabia and Russia are starting to shorten the crude market.

Europe, Middle East and Africa regions still lack demand for base oils, with markets remaining flat. There is plenty of availability for API Group I and Group II base stocks, and with Group III still suffering from an oversupply in all areas, but primarily in Europe. Prices have steadied, but one major – ExxonMobil in Europe – is actively hiking Group I prices to new highs by applying an across the board increase of €90 (U.S. $95) per metric ton on all grades. This puts pressure on other Group I base oil sellers to follow suit.

Increases would bolster the premium to diesel for Group I base oils in Europe because gas oil prices have recovered during last week, to add around $40/t to last week’s price. It was expected that there would also be pressure on Group II sellers to look for increases, but these have been missing as yet. With that lack of demand in the market, perhaps suppliers are not prepared to risk dampening demand further in the run up to the year’s end. Typically, base oil markets start to slow down during the fourth quarter, and this year will be no exception to that process. Off takes are becoming less as the quarter goes by. Producers are starting to become concerned about rising inventories, even after run cuts have been affected, and with producers redirecting more feedstocks to distillate production.

The Middle East remains on tenterhooks as Israel is besieging and bombing the Gaza strip in apparent preparation for an invasion. Hamas allies, such as Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Syria have threatened to take action, and the United States and United Kingdom have countered by sending naval battle groups to the East Mediterranean. Concerns have risen that neighboring countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates could also be drawn in if the fighting widens.

Base oil trading was suspended for imports going into Israeli ports, with participants commenting that they are waiting to see how the situation develops before recommencing sending cargoes of base oils to Israel. Traders and suppliers are expecting that Israeli demand for finished lubricants will surge, and that base oil stocks will have to be replenished as soon as practical. Costs will have skyrocketed, with vessels’ insurance for war risks, and freight rates increasing for those vessels still willing to charter to move materials into Israeli ports. This does not only apply to base oils, since Israeli imports a great deal of foodstuffs, chemicals and other ancillary merchandise.

Crude and feedstocks are making a resurgence, with prices climbing early this week. How far the momentum will take prices is unknown at this time, with players happy to observe and react if appropriate.

Dated Brent trades at $90.15/bbl, up around $3/bbl from last week, with this crude remaining for December front month. West Texas Intermediate has also moved higher, with the crack returning to more familiar levels at $4. WTI is currently at $86.90/bbl, around a similar level to last week. This price remains for November front month.

Low sulfur gas oil moved higher by around $40/t from last week’s level and now posts at $921/t, now for November front month.

Prices were established from London International Commodity Exchange on Oct. 16.


Group I export sales are still missing from the European markets, with little or no availabilities from Group I producers to set aside quantities for export destinations. There remain a number of movements into contracted receivers in West Africa, for example, with large cargoes supplying affiliates in other locations such as South and East Africa.

No more was heard from Livorno refinery. The latest reports heard last week were that Eni will have 1,000 tons of SN 150 this week and is now up and running, with availabilities coming as and when production allows.

Export prices in this report are given on a notional basis, with SN 150 now pushed higher and assessed at $900/t-$950/t, SN 500 at $1,025/t-$1,100/t and bright stock in a range at $1,200/t-$1,300/t.

Domestic Group I prices were raised by one major as of last week, which is expected to put pressure on other prices to rise on the back of this notification. Increases would lift Group I prices by €90/t-€100/t to levels that provide refiners with acceptable returns, following rising raw material costs that were increasing steadily over the past few weeks. With diesel moving higher, the increases will maintain the base oil premium at an acceptable point.

There are some exceptions to the above. In Hungary, a local refiner has offered SN 500 as low as $1,000/t. Why this seller has moved prices lower is not known, but having recently returned to production after completing maintenance, it seems a rather peculiar action to take.

SN 150 is now assessed at €1,165/t-€1,225/t, SN 500 is placed at €1,220/t-€1,300/t, and bright stock is now at €1,375/t-€1,450/t.

The euro exchange rate to the dollar remained static during last week, posting on Monday, Oct. 16 at $1.05.

With prices increasing for both domestic and notional export trades, the price differential is maintained at €160/t-€245/t.

Group II prices around Europe have remained stable. Sellers are commenting that with poor demand, price increases are ruled out for the time being, and in some cases, Group I prices could overtake Group II number should prices remain at current levels. Feedstock prices have risen again during last week, and this could increase pressure on Group II selling prices to rise.

Group II prices hold a very low premium to low sulfur gas oil, and that premium is being squeezed further, with gas oil prices rising during last week.

Price levels are reviewed and are re-assessed at €1,030/t-€1,095/t ($1,080/t-$1,150/t) for the three light vis grades – 100N, 150N and 220N – with 600N at €1,160/t-€1,225/t ($1,220/t-$1,285/t).

Vis grades 100N and 150N are typically priced higher than 220N due to demand and generally higher usage in Europe of the two lighter grades.

Prices are for a large range of Group II base oils, including European, United States, Asia-Pacific and Red Sea sources, imported in bulk and in flexies.

Group III prices continue to show weaker, softer numbers, with continuing pressure on distributors to move as much product as possible. Demand is poor, with more availabilities of Group III base stocks coming on to the European market.

The supply from Porvoo, Finland, still has problems meeting specification and quality, following the change of crude supplier that it is believed has caused feedstock problems. If this source had still been in production, there would have been an even larger oversupply in the European markets.

Rerefined Group III base oils have now been included in the European partly-approved and non-approved Group III base stocks. The 4 centiStoke is priced for October and November at €1,355/t-€1,465/t. The low end of this range refers to rerefined material. The 8 cSt is placed at €1,400/t-€1,445/t and 6 cSt at €1,455/t-€1,485/t. Prices are based on FCA supplies from Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam and Northwest Europe and Germany in the case of the rerefined product.

Prices for fully-approved Group III base oils from Cartagena refinery in Spain are trimmed, but there are further reports of this supplier’s problems regarding agreeing on contracted quantities for next year. Some regular customers are arguing that they want to reduce overall quantities of Group III base stocks in finding ways to ditch fully-approved base oils in some blends. The price differential between fully-approved and partly-approved Group III base oil is considerable.

The 4 cSt and 6 cSt grades are placed at €1,835/t-€1,885/t. Small quantities of 8 cSt oils are assessed at €1,800/t-€1,820/t. Prices are for FCA sales from hubs in Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam, Northwest Europe and Spain.

Baltic and Black Seas

Baltic news is that Lukoil and Litasco will offer to deliver a large cargo of Russian base oils to Nigeria. It is believed that extended credit will figure as a key element of the deal. Payment perhaps will be accepted in naira, meaning that the seller would be obliged to send representatives to Lagos to handle the exchange of naira on the black market into dollars, which would be repatriated to Russia using local banks. 

Prices for FOB numbers for SN 150 from Svetly are around $640/t, with SN 500 at around $680/t. At these numbers, suppliers would have a considerable price advantage over other traders. The options to take material from Svetly are almost a necessity because there is no material available out of the U.S. Gulf Cost or U.S. Atlantic Coast at prices that would work into Nigeria, and there are no European producers that have the availability for a large export cargo to go into Apapa.

SN 900 would be blended using SN 1200, SN 500 and SN 150 and would possibly be priced FOB at around $740/t. The cargo would be comprised of a small quantity of SN 150 and relatively large quantities of SN 500 and SN 900.

The eventual quantities may be dictated by whatever vessel is available to charter for the voyage.

Baltic imports from Europe and other external sources are going into ports such as Riga in Latvia and Klaipeda and Liepaja in Lithuania. Some of the imported base oils are re-refined grades and also quantities of naphthenics replacing Russian grades, which were used prior to the European Union ban in February this year.

The 2,000 tons of bright stock available from Gdansk remains unsold, but reports are that the quantity will be reallocated into the domestic market in Poland or other Eastern European sites. Prices now for Lotos and PK Orlen material out of Gdansk would now have to be priced higher at around $1,110/t for SN150, SN 500 at $1,210/t and bright stock at around $1,390/t FOB Gdansk.

The base oil market in Turkey remains dull and muted, with hardly any reports of any cargoes – other than Russian export grades – moving into Turkish receivers. Economic problems are growing, with prices too high for most buyers. Operating blending plants has become very difficult without access to European supplies of Group I base oils. The latest rise in prices from ExxonMobil will put prices out of reach for any Turkish buyers. 

The market is almost entirely reliant on Russian imports of SN 150 and SN 500 to supply blending operations across Turkey.

Blenders based in Turkey cannot easily access dollars to be able to open letters of credit to purchase cargoes of base oil from Mediterranean sellers. It was mooted that Group I and Group II base oils had been offered to Turkish receivers from Luberef from Yanbu, but no shipping reports have confirmed any vessel booked to make the voyage to Gebze.

Petrol Ofisi issued a tender to buy 2,000 tons of 4 cSt Group III base oils, and have the successful supplier as a South Korean producer. The CIF price was heard to be around $1,385/t.

Imported Russian Group I base oil prices are reported as steady, having moved higher last month. This increase would be in line with the $30/t rise that was applied to domestic Russian markets.

Sources have suggested that SN 150 would be sold at around €775/t, with SN 500 at €800/t, but it is not apparent if this is a sale between Russian traders and Turkish blenders.

Tupras refinery in Izmir is producing Group I base oils and has prices for SN 150 at $1,166/t (Tl 24,519), SN 500 at $1,227/t (Tl 27,024), and bright stock at $1,450/t (Tl 33,167). Selling prices are in Turkish lira, but these U.S. dollar numbers are converted for this report. Prices are ex-rack in trucks for which there is a loading charge of Tl 5,150/t.

Mediterranean sources are currently unable to compete against Russian prices, with estimated CIF prices for SN 500 now around $1,255/t CIF Gebze, almost $500/t higher than Russian prices.

Group II prices on an ex-tank basis are maintained, with levels at around €1,145/t-€1,175/t for the three lower vis products – 100N, 150N and 220N – and 600N at €1,345/t-€1,370/t. Supplies of Group II grades are sourced from Red Sea, the United States, South Korea or Rotterdam. Some traders have become active in these supplies, with material being loaded in flexies and delivered to Turkish receivers.

Partly-approved Group III base oils resold by distributors on an FCA basis, or often on a truck-delivered basis, are taken lower this week, with Russian 4 centiStoke grade from Tatneft at €1,345/t. Other suppliers are put at €1,565/t-€1,610/t FCA.

Smaller quantities of fully-approved Group III grades are routinely delivered into Gemlik from Cartagena refinery from Repsol. Prices are maintained and are at €1,955/t-€1,995/t FCA. Cargoes from 800 tons up to 1,800 tons cover these requirements for a small number of blenders that require access to fully-approved Group III base oils.

Middle East

Shipping reports indicate large quantities of Group II base oils leaving Yanbu and moving into the west coast of India. During September around 60,000 tons of both Group I and Group II base oils went into the Indian market from Yanbu and Jeddah. Other cargoes are going into Alexandria in Egypt, where 3,000 tons of parcels of bright stock are regularly delivered for Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. Group II base oils are being delivered to receivers in the United Arab Emirates, with a large cargo of 18,000 tons discharging in Hamriyah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Jebel Ali.

Middle East Gulf supplies of Group I and Group II base oils are coming into the U.A.E. from many sources, including South Korea, Singapore, Rayong, and Rotterdam. Group I cargoes were being worked from U.S. sources, but now U.S. prices have risen, closing the arbitrage between the U.S. Gulf Coast and Middle East Gulf. 

U.A.E. buyers were looking at Group I cargoes from Asia-Pacific, but prices in that region have moved higher, making it uneconomic to move quantities into the U.A.E. ports. Alternatives could be Chennai or Haldia in India, but Indian sellers are not keen to offer low prices for U.A.E. receivers who are used to taking Russian barrels at very low delivered prices. Thailand and Indonesia are possibilities, but FOB prices have gone up and freight rates are too high for smaller cargoes that were often delivered from Rayong. Traders are looking at switching smaller quantities of up to 2,000 tons to flexies, since container prices are more attractive than shipping in bulk. 

Russian barrels are on near permanent offer to a number of regular buyers in the U.A.E., with Litasco looking at inquiries for vessels to load out of either Svetly in Kaliningrad or Limas in Turkey.

Russian base oil prices remain incredibly low and are suggested to be around $785/t for SN 150 and around $825/t for quantities of SN 500, discharging into Hamriyah storage. The U.A.E. as an outlet for Russian base oils is fundamental and will be retained by Lukoil and Litasco as a “dumping ground” to move large quantities of Russian Group I barrels.

Group III cargoes from Middle East Gulf production hubs loaded during October for receivers in India and China. Cargoes for the United States and Europe are also enroute to distributor storage in Dordrecht and Houston.

Shell have moved two large cargoes, one into the west coast of India and another for Europe. Other smaller cargoes of 10,000-15,000 tons will be loading for Singapore. Supplies of gas-to-liquids-produced Group III+ base oils are now widely available in Singapore and Europe, where previously these oils were not resold directly as base oils. The European supplies were initially procured by traders from Singapore and were the transported to European receivers in Greece in flexies.

Netbacks for partly-approved base oils from Al Ruwais and Sitra terminals are moved slightly lower and maintained, with selling prices dipping a little in markets such as Europe and India. Netback returns are now assessed at $1,440/t-$1,495/t, for 4 centiStoke, 6 cSt and 8 cSt partly-approved and non-approved Group III base oils.

Netbacks for Group III+ GTL material out of Ras Laffan in Qatar are also trimmed and are around $1,520/t-$1,575/t. Levels are assessed on basis of prices from traders in Singapore and also reselling prices in Europe.

Netback levels are established from distributors’ selling prices, minus estimated marketing, margins, handling and freight costs.

Group II base oils resold FCA in the U.A.E. are sourced from European, U.S., Asia-Pacific and Red Sea producers. Base oils are sold ex-tank the U.A.E. or on a truck-delivered basis within the U.A.E. and Oman.

Prices remain unchanged, with levels assessed at $1,455/t-$1,485/t for the light vis grades 100N, 150N and 220N, with 600N at $1,585/t-$1,610/t. The high ends of the ranges refer to road tank wagon deliveries in the U.A.E. and Oman. It should be noted that these Group II prices are decidedly higher than prices in markets such as the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific, the reason being that the product changes ownership a number of times prior to reaching the end-user.


South African sources in Durban suggested that a further large base oil cargo may be loaded out of Rotterdam and Fawley before sailing to Durban. The timing of this extra cargo has not been divulged as yet, but it is thought that the quantity may be a much as 25,000 tons. The initial cargo confirmed last week will arrive into Durban prior to the year’s end.

West African deliveries include a vessel loaded out of Fawley with three grades of Group I base oils for receivers in Conakry in Guinea, Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire and Tema in Ghana. The total cargo will possibly be around 8,500-9,000 tons, with 5,000 tons of three grades going into Tema.

Nigerian news is that a regular Nigeria trader’s large U.S. cargo loaded and is on the water and due into Apapa for discharge. The cargo should arrive towards the end of October. This may be the only cargo coming into Nigeria around that time, because even if a vessel is found by Litasco to load out of Svetly, it will be around the end of November before arrival in Lagos. This is assuming that charterers will be able to find a suitable vessel to perform the voyage.  

The supply of Russian base oils will be from Svetly in Kaliningrad, but with quantity unknown as yet, since it will be dependent on finding a vessel that will determine the size of the cargo. Receivers are believed to be offered extended credit of up to 150 days following bill of lading date. How payment will be arranged is not known, but some, or all, of the amount may be made in naira.

The U.S. arbitrage between the U.S. Gulf Coast and U.S. Atlantic Coast and Apapa is closed. FOB prices have risen for Group I cargoes, and with Nigerian receivers not looking to pay higher prices, there may follow an impasse, with traders abandoning the market for the next couple of months.

There may be the possibility for another cargo to come out of Singapore but prices in that region have also moved upwards. Freight costs may not be as low as the last cargo – which weren’t very low anyway – making this option uneconomic.

CFR Apapa prices continue to be assessed around $1,100/t for SN 150, $1,160/t for the SN 500 and around $1,195/t for SN 900.

There are no availabilities from Europe.

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.

Related Topics

Base Oil Reports    Base Stocks    Market Topics    Other