EMEA Base Oil Price Report


Global news continues to be dominated by warring in Gaza and Ukraine, where innocent civilians are not only being killed and wounded but also face shortages of power, fuel and water – staple necessities for normal life and existence.

The wars are having direct and indirect effects on many markets, and with the Middle East on high alert for escalation in the fighting, many supply chains have been interrupted both within the region and abroad. Supplies of various materials and foodstuffs have been in short supply, with limitations on grain shipments from Ukraine and logistical difficulties hitting Israeli and nearby ports for supplies of basic goods.

Base oils have not been immune from events, and shortages of base stocks and lubricants have been noted in Israel and Ukraine, with blending facilities either closed or on limited operations due to the ongoing violence and dangers. Suppliers to these countries have been adapting routes and logistics so as to continue doing business.

Iran announced that it will not enter the Israel fighting, and this news was credited with keeping a lid on crude oil prices.

Meanwhile, OPEC suggested that Saudi Arabia will continue to limit its supply of crude oil into next year due to weakness in crude prices. Some analysts predict the kingdom’s action will help keep crude prices as current levels.

Other OPEC members such as Algeria, Nigeria, Libya and Kuwait said they, too, will limit quantities of crude supplied to market. The economies of some of these countries depend strongly on crude exports, so controls on production can be tricky business.

Crude oil prices are steady, but cannot be described as stable, with uncertainty ruling the sentiment of traders and producers. Prices have stayed around the same levels for a couple weeks, having come off recent highs during the last month and may remain around present levels unless some other geopolitical event occurs. Producers are concerned about apparent weakness in crude markets and are prepared to take action to shore up prices.  

dated deliveries of Brent crude is currently trading at $82.30 per barrel, for January front month settlement, up around $1 from last week. West Texas Intermediate was also steady and is at $77.70/barrel, likewise for January front month. 

Low-sulfur gas oil prices have been tracking lower and only moved up slightly on Monday afternoon, by around $10 per metric ton, bring them back to $815/t, still for December front month, around the same level as a week earlier. All of these prices were obtained from London ICE late Nov. 20.


The European API Group I market remains tight, but with demand stalling, demand and supply appear balanced and a large end-of-year surplus unlikely. The market for Group I exports from the region remains practically non-existent, with few reports of cargoes leaving European shores.

Eni announced that its Livorno, Italy, refinery will have availability of all Group I grades this week and will be loading vessels during the next few days. The destination of these “export” parcels is unknown, and prices announced for them seem uncompetitive for regions such as West Africa. More information will be gathered during this week, perhaps throwing some light on what the company is trying to achieve.

Export prices – provided here on a notional basis are unchanged at between $900/t and $950/t for solvent neutral 150, $1,025/t-$1,100/t for SN500 and $1,250/t-$1,335/t for bright stock.

No price hikes have been announced for December. Demand has slowed considerably the past couple weeks and could slow further next month. Demand for finished lubricants will be weak during January and February, so blenders will not want to carry large inventories into the first part of 2024. Lubricant demand may start to increase during March, leading base oil sales to pick up toward the end of February.

Light solvent neutral grades continue to be in short supply due to refiners having transferred feedstock for these grades into the diesel pool during the past few months. There may be a case now for diverting feedstocks back into the base oil trains, since diesel prices are lower, and base oil levels have improved, but demand is fading, and sellers do not want close out 2023 with large inventories.

With crude and feedstock prices steady around current levels it is difficult to justify further upward movements for Group I base oils, with producers now maintaining an acceptable base oil price premium to diesel.

Prices remain unchanged this week at €1,165/t-€1,225/t for SN150, €1,220/t-€1,265/t for SN500 and €1,375/t-€1,450/t for bright stock, where available.

The euro exchange rate to the United States dollar dipped to $1.09348 Nov. 20. The differential between notional prices for Group I exports from Europe and prices for Group I sales within the region is unchanged at €135/t-€195/t, exports being lower.

European Group II prices are now stable following recent increases. Other than the one major European producer who announced large increases at the end of October, other players in the Group II market have now announced comparative increases, and have now levelled the playing field. It may be reasonable for some other suppliers at the base of Group II pricing to push levels higher to bring their prices into line.

In most cases the Group II base oil premium to diesel has been improved, and with demand slowing towards the year end, sellers are not in a position to realign prices higher. It is generally accepted that current levels will remain and will be rolled over into December, and maybe even January, when demand is still reckoned to be lower than ideal.

Prices are pushed higher this week with the range now lifted to between €1195/t-€1245/t ( $1300/t-$1357) in respect of the three light vis grades (100N, 150N and 220N), with 600N now between €1325/t-€1375/t ($1445/t-$1500). However, one supplier with imported material from U.S. shows prices which are much lower than the rest of the market at €1135/t in respect of 150N, and €1240/t for 600N. 

100N and 150N are typically priced higher than 220N due to demand and generally higher usage in Europe of the two lighter grades, also with reasonable demand for the lighter grades due to the lack of availability of Group I light neutrals. 

Prices are in respect of a large range of Group II base oils, including European, U.S., AsiaPac and Red Sea sources, imported in bulk and in flexies.

Group III prices continue to sow erosion but with smaller discounts than previously seen a couple of months back, Prices are set to remain weak, with re-refined prices showing lower offers than partly-approved products. The Group III market in Europe is estimated to be around 1.8 million tonnes per annum, trending down from around 2.2 million tonnes in 2022. There have been lower quantities arriving from United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, but with increases in quantities of GTL grades coming on the European market from Qatar.

The combination of oversupply and lower demand is affecting the Group III market in Europe with both factors leading to price pressure.

Fully-approved Group III base stocks, until recently, had been somewhat protected from severe price erosion, but fully-approved Group III base oils are now seeing lower price levels but there remains a relatively large differential between fully-approved and partly-approved grades are still in place to the tune of around $350/t.

Partly-approved grades, not including re-refined base oils, have prices for 4 centiStoke and 6 cSt slightly lower between €1435/t-€1460/t. 8 cSt is between €1395/t-€1420/t. In reporting re-refined 4 centiStoke separately, this grade is offered between €1345/t-€1370/t. Prices are based on FCA supplies ex Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam/northwesternE and Germany.

Prices for fully-approved Group III base oils from Cartagena refinery are taken lower with blenders declining to buy full quotas of fully-approved Group III base stocks due to the large price differential.

Fully-approved 4 centiStoke and 6 cSt grades are placed between €1680/t-€1720/t. Small quantities of 8 cSt oils are assessed between €1665/t-€1695/t. Prices are in respect of FCA sales ex hubs in Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam, Northwestern Europe and Spain.

Baltic and Black Seas

Reports from the Baltic Sea and also from sources in Nigeria suggested that a cargo of Russian export base oils will eventually move to Apapa in the near future. There remain doubts as to whether this sale will proceed, but several pieces of information have been put together. The consensus is that a cargo will load from Svetly terminal in Kaliningrad and will sail to Lagos. The receivers in Nigeria have not been identified and are thought to be different from parties that were first considering this cargo of Russian product. There will be more than one receiver, but without knowing the size of the cargo – which will be subject to the vessel size and carrying capacity – it is not possible to surmise the final quantities of the assumed three grades that will be loading. The grades will be SN 150, SN 500 and SN 900. 

Specification of Russian base oils could be a problem for some of the blenders in Nigeria, with color, viscosity index and oxidation stability lower in values than mainstream Group I base oils from either Europe or the United States. There may also be problems with payment, with potential buyers paying naira in cash, requiring sellers to have representation in Lagos to accept the payments and exchange the local currency into dollars on the “alternative” market.

FOB prices for SN 150 and SN 500 from Svetly are heard to have risen in line with increases to base oil prices within Russia, with levels now estimated at around $745/t for the SN 150, with SN 500 now around $760/t. SN 900 could have an FOB price of around $790/t. Sellers could land a cargo with prices around $200/t lower than current prices landing in Apapa. 

Perhaps there is scope for a trader to load out of Livorno for receivers in Apapa, but prices will have to be honed before a cargo from that source can be landed into Nigeria on a competitive basis.

Blenders in Lithuania have come to the market looking to source Group I, Group II and Group III base oils for importing and blending in Klaipeda. There are cargo lots arriving into the Baltic from the new supply chain importing base oils from Europe, U.S. and the Middle East. Additionally, re-refined Group I from Denmark and rerefined Group I and Group III base oil from Germany are also on the list of sources for blenders in Latvia and Lithuania.

This report had heard that Gdansk refinery had some quality issues with some of the base oils being produced at that site. and it is still unknown when product will be available for cargoes to load. Traders were looking to take a cargo for the United Kingdom, but with no current availabilities, this will not happen.

Turkish reports that offers for Greek base oils have almost become an ongoing permanent feature of the market, where Turkish buyers are trying to purchase European quality Group I base oils for blending operations in Turkey. No acceptance of prices offered has been heard. The problem is European mainland prices are too high compared to Russian imports, but the two blenders in Turkey are determined to buy a cargo of European quality base stocks to meet approvals on finished motor oils. Suggestions have been made to Turkish traders that Livorno could be an option now that production and availabilities are back on stream.

The Turkish lubricant market continues to be almost dependent on Russian imports of SN 150 and SN 500, which abound in tanks in Turkish ports. There are also small quantities of Russian quality bright stock and mid- and heavy neutrals available from Uzbekistan.

Imported Russian Group I base oil prices are confirmed to have moved higher, with levels increasing by around $60/t-$75/t. Sources in Turkey have indicated SN 150 landed at around €875/t, with SN 500 around €895/t.

Tupras production has not yet restarted but may be operational either this week or next.

Prices are still circulated for supplies of base oils in stock apparently from existing production. Prices for SN 150 are 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). Prices in Turkish lira are ex-rack plus a loading charge of Tl 5,150/t. 

Group II prices ex-tank remain unaltered, with levels around €1,255/t-€1,300/t for the three lower vis products – 100N, 150N and 220N – with 600N at €1,475/t-€1,525/t. Supplies of Group II grades may be sourced from the Red Sea, the U.S., South Korea or Rotterdam. Some traders are active in these supplies with material in flexies being delivered to Turkish distributors, who resell on an FCA or truck-delivered basis.

Partly-approved Group III base oils resold on an FCA basis, or often on a truck-delivered basis, are maintained with Russian 4 centiStoke grade from Tatneft at €1,345/t. Alternative supplies from the U.A.E., Bahrain and Asia-Pacific are at €1,555/t-€1,595/t FCA, depending on quantity purchased.

Smaller quantities of fully-approved Group III grades that are delivered into Gemlik from Spain have prices taken lower and are now at €1,865/t-€1,895/t FCA. Cargoes are of 800 tons up to 2,000 tons over these requirements for the small number of blenders who require access to fully-approved Group III base oils.

Middle East

Following large price increases, there are still a large number of inquiries from U.A.E. and Indian receivers to take quantities of Group I and Group II base oils from Luberef. Large cargoes of up to 20,000 tons are loading out of Yanbu and Jeddah, going into the west coast and east coast of India and into the U.A.E. With no Group I material available out of the European market, and with the arbitrage firmly closed between U.S. and Middle East Gulf and India, cargoes from Yanbu and Jeddah provide European standards on quality for Group I and also acceptable specifications for Group II supplies out of Yanbu. The base oil unit was built and commissioned using technology shared with European and U.S. suppliers.

In Middle East Gulf regions there is a tangible air of concern and uncertainty regarding the situation in Gaza, with many base oil players fearing that the conflict could escalate, with Yemen and Lebanon becoming involved. Houthis in Yemen have launched drones at Israeli targets, all of which have reportedly been intercepted and shot down due to the “Iron Dome” defenses, which Israel has in place to defend itself.

There are reported problems with supplies of finished lubricants moving out of the U.A.E. to markets in other parts of the Middle East Gulf, East Africa and Red Sea ports, with logistics identified as the principal problem of moving containers to destination ports.

From Asia-Pacific sources Group I and Group II base oils are arriving into Hamriyah and Jebel Ali in the U.A.E. from sources in South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. The arbitrage between the U.S. Gulf Coast and Middle East Gulf is closed, ruling out barrels arriving into the U.A.E. from those sources. Europe has no availabilities and is not in a position to supply Group I barrels into Middle East Gulf markets.

U.A.E. buyers are limited to taking large cargoes from Saudi Arabia, or supplies from Asia-Pacific sources. U.A.E. buyers are negotiating with Luberef to take large quantities of both Group I and Group II base oils through 2024, with contracted barrels at report linked prices. It has been mentioned that a relatively new report may be used instead of a former price model. It has been suggested that the later report is more detailed and accurate and offers a fairer pricing model.

Lukoil and Litasco continue to offer Group I – and Group III – base oils to receivers in the U.A.E., mostly from Limas terminal in Turkey. But with the Volga River starting to freeze, this operation may have to change during the winter months, using other options, such as of loading large cargoes on vessels from Svetly in the Baltic.

The 4 cSt Group III prices produced by Tatneft are being resold by Lukoil and are competitive versus local supplies from Adnoc and Bapco.

Russian base oil prices are reported to be around $875/t for SN 150 and around $895/t for quantities of SN 500, discharged into Hamriyah port in various sized cargoes but mostly at 6,000-12,000 tons per parcel.

Group III suppliers Adnoc and Bapco will load a number of cargoes for the west coast of India. These are to appointed distributors in India who will resell the Group III base oils to many users in the Indian market.

Netbacks for partly-approved base oils from Al Ruwais and Sitra have dipped this week, with selling prices lower in Europe, stable in India and steady in the U.S. Netbacks are currently assessed at $1,410/t-$1,455/t, for 4 cSt, 6 cSt and 8 cSt partly-approved and non-approved Group III base oils.

Netbacks for gas-to-liquid Group III+ base oils from Ras Laffan in Qatar remain unchanged at around $1,520/t-$1,575/t. Levels are assessed on information from traders in Singapore and sellers in Europe.

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

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

Prices are maintained with levels at $1,565/t-$1,595/t for the light vis grades 100N, 150N and 220N, with 600N at $1,695/t-$1,760/t. The high ends of the ranges refer to road tank wagon deliveries in the U.A.E. and Oman.


South African sources in Durban confirmed the large base oil cargo loading for ExxonMobil out of Rotterdam and Fawley. The vessel will discharge the full cargo in Durban, and the quantity is thought to be around 19,000 tons. A follow-up cargo may have the options to deliver into Mombasa and Dar-es-Salaam at a later date, or there may be a stand-alone cargo for these two ports, which would move through Suez rather than go around the Cape. The vessel may have an option to load out of Valencia or Augusta. Loading laycan in respect of the first vessel remains given as Nov. 20-25 in Rotterdam.  

Nigerian reports now suggest that the Russian base oil cargo from Svetly will be going ahead, but final details were not available at the time of writing this report. There are still not any shipping reports quoting an enquiry, or a fixture, from Kaliningrad. The cargo size is also unknown, since there has been no vessel identified. A vessel might load a quantity of around 12,000 tons of three Group I grades – SN 150, SN 500 and SN 900 – which would make economic sense on the freight costs.

The trader’s large U.S. cargo completed, and the trader was heard to be in Lagos possibly handling the transfer of funds. The source has commented that they will not be looking to lift another U.S. cargo in November, with only a possibility for December.

Problems continue with the exchange rate between the naira and the dollar. It is assumed that a large part – if not the whole cargo – will be settled in naira, then to be exchanged on the “alternative” market for dollars.

Traders are investigating alternative sources for Group I supplies, one of which is Yanbu in Saudi Arabia, but one problem could be that Luberef will not sell base oils on an FOB basis to a third party. All other base oil movements out of Yanbu are done on vessels chartered by Luberef and delivered cargoes are completed on a CIF/CFR basis.

Livorno may become an option for loading a Group I cargo with SN 150, SN 500 and blended SN 900, using bright stock and SN 500. The SN 900 could be blended on board the vessel at the time of loading, saving costs in terms of extra shore storage, and could be overseen by the inspector looking after the cargo loading. Pricing will be the first issue for a cargo from this source.

CFR Apapa prices for the large U.S. cargo are as previously reported, confirmed at around $1,100/t for SN 150, $1,160/t for the SN 500 and SN 900 at around $1,195/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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