Weekly EMEA Base Oil Price Report


Across European, Middle East and African base oil markets, a strange phenomenon is taking place, with all types of base oils from API Group I through Group III converging in price terms though for different reasons. 

In Europe, Group I has developed into a rather tight market, and whilst not becoming short, mild demand is taking up most of the barrels available in the region, leaving no quantities for identified for export over the past couple of months. Scheduled maintenance, outages due to fires and the loss of one major producer has pushed Group I prices higher, although not yet to Group II levels.

Group II availabilities are meeting demand without significant surplus material floating around the European market, thanks to United States suppliers importing as much as possible given rising prices in their home market and stockpiling ahead of hurricane season. Group II prices are steady, but could face upward pressure from converging Group I numbers.

Group III base stocks, meanwhile, have come under extreme downward price pressure across Europe, the Middle East and Africa as some areas are now oversupplied and others are at least flush. The overall result has been that prices have gravitated lower, in Europe and Africa partly because of lower-priced imports from Asia-Pacific sources.

The end result is a convergence on prices for all base oils. Some industry sources contend the situation will not continue – that natural price segregation will be re-established. This is possible, but market conditions make that seem unlikely at the moment.

Meanwhile the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza continue unabated. These events have effects on many markets, base oils being only one, but supply chains have had to be reorganized to cover requirements in the war zones and their surrounding regions.

Crude oil prices have continued to rise slowly but steadily, with most crudes advancing around $2-$3 per barrel the past week. Demand from China and India is still viewed as slow, and consumption of Russian crude by both is surging.

Dated deliveries of Brent crude has climbed to $85.55/bbl Monday, still for August front month settlement, while West Texas Intermediate hit $81.10/bbl, now for August front month.

Low-sulfur gasoil prices have also turned firmer, rising some $10 to $779 per metric ton, for July front month. This product continues to trade at a low premium to crude oil, thus incentivizing refiners to produce more base oils. All of these prices were taken from London ICE trading late June 24.


A European export market for Group I base oils no longer exists for two reason. First, there are no surplus supplies of Group I base oils to be found anywhere in the region. Second, virtually no export destinations are open to trade.

Arbitrage opportunities are closed to the Middle East Gulf and India due to costs and logistics involved in sailing cargoes around the Cape of Good Hope. Destinations such as West Africa are mostly covered by contractual or regular shipments from ExxonMobil out of Rotterdam and Fawley, United Kingdom, especially now that both refineries have completed major turnarounds in recent weeks. Nigeria is off limits due to payment issues, so there is a dearth of both availabilities and destinations.

There is a market in Europe for Group I imports. Cargoes from the U.S., the Red Sea, Egypt and Turkmenistan have arrived recently, and given the relative snugness of markets around the region, more shipments are expected to follow. Most of the imports are headed to northern Europe, although one parcel in flexi-tanks will be delivered into a Black Sea port originating from Turkmenistan.

Without these imports, European markets would have gone short. Availabilities have returned from ExxonMobil’s refinery in Port-Jerome, France, following a fire. Mol’s refinery in Szazhalombatta, Hungary, has now commenced a turnaround, but confusion remains as to whether an extended closure for the main refinery will affect Group I base oil availability.

The recent fire at Repsol’s Puertollano, Spain, refinery is still affecting Group I availability from that location, but reports at the end of last week suggested production may resume imminently.

Prices on Group I sales within Europe appear stable, with no discernible pressure, though that could change if crude values rise above $90/bbl. Prices are unchanged this week at €1,013/t-€1,150/t for solvent neutral 150, €1,075/t-€1,215/t for SN500 and €1,385/t-€1,445/t for bright stock, all on an FCA basis.

The dollar exchange rate to the euro is little changed at $1.07321 on June 24. The average price differential across all grades, between sales within Europe and hypothetical exports will still be reported here and is narrowed this week since it is believed that both sets of prices would be very similar. The notional differential is taken down to between €10/t-€25/t.

Group II prices are steady at the moment. Some U.S. suppliers raised rates in June, reacting to rising values in their domestic market. It is reckoned that other suppliers – European and other importers – are already ahead of those prices. Like Group I, prices in this segment seem stable, with the same caveat should crude climb significantly higher.

The latest rates from the low-priced U.S. importer cited here previously have been confirmed at €1,090/t for 110 neutral, €1,120/t for 220N and €1,220/t for 600N, all on an FCA basis ex Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam.

After adjustment last week, overall Group II prices are unchanged this week at €1,090/t-€1,135/t ($1,170/t-$1,215/t) for 110N and 150N, €1,120/t-€1,155/t ($1,200/t-$1,235/t) for 220N and €1,220/t-€1,265/t ($1,305/t-$1,355/t) for 600N. All of these prices apply to a range of Group II base oils, from European, U.S., Red Sea, and Asia-Pacific sources, all imported in bulk.

Supplier attempts to raise Group III prices simply have not succeeded as oils with partial slates of finished lubricant approvals or with no approvals face increasing pressure to come more in line with lower levels offered by a couple South Korean sellers. Availability remains good, with no shortages reported around the European market. Replenishment cargoes are due to load but will take extra time to reach Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam.

Demand remains dull. Some blenders had forecasted an upswing in demand for finished lubes, but this has not caused an increased demand for Group III stocks.

European prices for Group III oils with partial slates of approvals are unchanged this week at €1,460/t-€1,495/t for 4 and 6 centiStoke grades and at €1,435/t-€1,455/t for 8 cSt, all on an FCA basis ex Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam and Northwestern Europe.

As mentioned a couple of suppliers maintain lower offers that are now at €1,260/t-€1,270/t for 4 cSt on an FCA basis.

Values for rerefined Group III oils are unchanged at €1,425/t-€1,455/t for 4 and 6 cSt, on an FCA basis ex rerefinery in Germany.

Prices for fully-approved Group III grades are unchanged at €1,785/t-€1,820/t for 4 and 6 cSt and at €1,825/t-€1,835/t for 8 cSt, on an FCA basis ex hubs in Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam, Northwestern Europe and Spain.

Baltic & Black Seas

The Russian cargo that was earmarked for Apapa in Nigeria – which would have loaded out of the northern Baltic – appears to have been placed on indefinite hold, probably due to the reported payment problems in Nigeria at the moment.

A further report from Lagos suggested that certain Nigerian blenders are unhappy using Russian base oils due to the specification and quality aspects of the material. They have cited particular concerns regarding the SN 900 grade, which will be blended using a SN1200 that does not carry a high specification. Where Western quality bright stock is used, the SN 900 product becomes more expensive, but quality is assured, taking color, viscosity index and oxidation levels into acceptable territory. 

Lukoil is loading cargoes out of the Baltic, which are apparently destined for India and Singapore. This supplier is also delivering into Gebze port in Turkey. Around 80,000 tons of Russian base oils were imported into India this year, the largest quantity ever. Prices are believed to land at exceptionally low levels, ensuring that Indian buyers are getting the benefit of price levels that could be up to $300/t lower than material from Asia-Pacific or the United States.

FOB prices for Russian SN 150 and SN 500 from Saint Petersburg or Vyborg are estimated on the basis of the last offered prices into Nigeria, around a month ago. Taking freight and margins into consideration, numbers could be at $710/t-$735/t for SN 150 and at $740/t-$765/t for the SN 500 grade. SN 900 would have been priced at around $795/t.

Further information was sent to this report backing up claims that some blenders in Latvia and Lithuania may be using Russian base oils to blend finished lubricants, which are then being dumped into the U.K. and other EU markets, underselling established blenders who cannot compete, since prices are below manufacturing costs for these finished lubricants. 

Gdansk refinery reports no availabilities of Group I base oils for offers FOB Gdansk. All avails from the refinery are going into the local East European markets, where Group I is short due to MOL going into turnaround in Hungary.

A novel Black Sea logistical movement has come about with a parcel – thought to be around 2,000 tons, perhaps in flexies – has been bought by German traders from suppliers in Turkmenistan. The parcel has been transported by rail to the Black Sea, loaded into flexies and shipped across to a European port. This availability could augment any shortfall caused by the MOL turnaround in Hungary.

Sources in Turkey have again reported companies struggling to make end meet with the local markets in freefall and surrounding exports having to compete with Russian origin blends of additives and base oils that are much lower in cost and price. The economic situation in Turkey remains dire, with blenders confirming that they are unable to obtain European quality base oils. That’s because suppliers have no avails, or prices are $350/t-$400/t higher than Russian base oils, which are freely available ex-tank on a load over load basis in euros.

Russian Group I base oils continue to flood the Turkish market, with cargoes from the Baltic moving into Gebze, with parcels of around 5,000 tons of SN 500, sometimes with smaller quantities of SN 150.

Russian barrels are being priced notionally on a CFR basis into Turkey at around $825/t-$850/t for quantities of SN 150, with SN 500 at $835/t-$865/t. European barrels cannot compete. 

Tupras has not issued any new prices, so it is assumed that previous levels will apply but only on the basis that grades are available.

Spindle oil – Tl 34,326/t, SN 150 – Tl 29,745/t, SN 500 – Tl 31,829/t, with bright stock – Tl 43,036/t. Prices in lira are offered ex-rack, plus a loading charge of Tl 5,150/t.

Group II FCA price levels are maintained with levels at €1,290/t-€1,345/t for the three lower vis grades – 100N, 150N and 220N – and 600N at €1,475/t-€1,525/t. These grades were previously sold in dollars, but with dollars unavailable, therefore a reversion to euros.

Group II base oils were previously imported from the Red Sea, the United States or South Korea, but now Russian Group II grades are offered in Turkey and are considerably lower in price. Prices for Russian Group II base oils were not available from usual sources. Cargoes and flexies from South Korea are no longer available due to Red Sea problems.

Partly-approved Group III base oils, sold on an FCA basis, include Tatneft 4 centiStoke. This grade is priced now at around €1,445/t. Supplies in tank, having previously been imported from the U.A.E., Bahrain and Asia-Pacific had FCA prices at €1,625/t-€1,670/t, but these stocks may no longer be available. The problem for supply of Group III base oils from Middle East Gulf and Malaysia is that a vessel delivering either bulk or flexies in containers would have to sail around the Cape and then into the Mediterranean to discharge in a Turkish port. This is deemed to be uneconomic.

Smaller quantities of fully-approved Group III grades from Cartagena refinery in Spain are regularly delivered into Gemlik and are resold on an FCA basis to local blenders, with prices maintained between €1,960/t-€1,995/t FCA.

Middle East

There is news contained in other base oil reports that records have been set during April for exports of Group I and Group II from Yanbu and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Cargoes loaded were destined for the west coast of India and the United Arab Emirates, but how Luberef have managed to evade the Houthi attacks has not been revealed. Research is now being conducted to locate and find the vessels chartered for these cargoes to establish how safe passage for the vessel and cargo has been organized.

The delayed S-Oil cargo of Group I grades for northwest Europe had loaded and is now still enroute to Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam. With a voyage time of around three weeks the vessel should arrive during first week of July. 

Indian and Pakistani flagged vessels may be granted safe passage by the Houthis, going through the Bab-al-Mandeb Strait, perhaps with guidance from Iran, controlling their proxy.

Iran has been strangely quiet during the past few weeks, with the only news coming from Tehran giving updates as to Iranol and Sepahan export prices for SN 500 and SN 150. Cargoes have been coming out of Bander Khomeini and Bander Bushire, moving small quantities of base oils into the U.A.E. and sometimes into Indian ports such as Mumbai and Kerala.  Iranian base oil prices have moved higher with Sepahan raising prices across all Group l grades by around $35/t.

Middle East Gulf blenders continue to have problems obtaining quantities of additives and base oils from western sources, with shipping costs having risen to reflect the changes to voyage times and routes. But some say during last week, that “life is getting back to normal.” U.A.E. companies have been very resourceful by adopting different sources for base oils and additives, with new supply chains with a number of obstacles still to overcome, like laying hands on containers which are either in short supply, very expensive to hire, or in the wrong position.

Group III cargoes from Bahrain, Qatar and Al Ruwais, U.A.E., are more complex with fewer options for vessels available in the Gulf, with those available are now very expensive to charter given the extra voyage times and additional logistics for crew, bunkering and victualling.

In the U.A.E., Group I imports are arriving in Hamriyah and Ras al Khaimah from Thailand, Indonesia, India, Russia and also from Saudi Arabia from where it has been reported that record quantities of base oils were shipped to the U.A.E. during April and May this year. This is against the reports from U.A.E. sources that this report contacts on a weekly basis, who confirmed that there were problems for shipping from Yanbu and Jeddah, and that a number of cargoes had been delayed or cancelled. 

Russian base oil cargoes discharging in Hamriyah have latest price indications from a U.A.E. source, CFR at around $820/t for SN 150 and $830/t for SN 500. A number of parcels of 5,000-8,000 tons have loaded from either Limas terminal in Turkey, or Baltic for U.A.E. receivers. This report is trying to establish the quantities of Russian base oils which have been imported into the U.A.E. over the past few months. Volgograd refinery has not yet been confirmed as damaged with no news on base oil production being affected.

Netbacks for Group III exports from the Middle East Gulf for partly-approved base oils from the U.A.E. and Bahrain are maintained, with indications at $1,425/t-$1,475/t, for the 4 cSt, 6 cSt and 8 cSt partly-proved Group III grades.

Netbacks for gas-to-liquids Group III+ base oils from Ras Laffan, Qatar, also remain unchanged and are estimated to come in at around $1,500/t-$1,560/t. Primary economics and cost allocation aspects of Shell cargoes are not disclosed.

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

Group II base oils sold ex-tank in the U.A.E., or on a truck- delivered basis in the U.A.E. and Oman, have prices maintained this week. Traders were looking at alternative supply sources in Asia-Pacific but have been reassured by suppliers based in Europe and the U.S. that replenishment stocks will be delivered. Selling levels are relatively high compared to other regions and are reported at $1,685/t-$1,725/t for 100N, 150N and 220N, with 600N at $1,775/t-$1,825/t.

The high ends of the ranges refer to road tank wagon deliveries to buyers in remote locations in the U.A.E. and Oman.


Following the completion of major maintenance turnarounds at Rotterdam and Fawley refineries, cargoes will start to load for South Africa and West Africa. A large 20,000-ton cargo will load from Rotterdam and Fawley during July. The timing of the cargo is not known but the parcel of multi grades will definitely sail before the end of August. Also it has not been confirmed to agents in Durban whether this cargo will include material to be delivered onwards to Mombasa, following the main discharge in Durban.

West Africa reports that a cargo will load out of Fawley with around 9,000-10,000 tons of three Group I grades for receivers in Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. Around 5,000 tons of three grades will supply and cover the contracted supply in Tema in Ghana. The balance of the cargo will be split into two parcels and will discharge in Abidjan and Conakry.

Nigerian news is not encouraging, in that little or no progress has been made regarding the problems with banking and access to dollars. Traders are staying away from importing base oils into Apapa, with no assurances of payment terms or timing.

This is due to the complexities of receiving payment for cargoes and since no agreements or contracts can be negotiated and finalized, with receivers regarding payments. Payments may be made in dollars or in naira, or a combination of the two currencies. If naira payments are used this can cause problems with the costs and expenses of expediting on the local black market. Neither banks nor “unofficial” markets have access to dollars. The Nigerian government has chosen to ignore this fundamental problem, adopting “head in the sand” tactics to see if this “nuisance situation” will disappear.

The base oil market is on an edge, in danger of receiving no imported base oils in the near future. With no other local sources for base oils, this market could cease to exist. Some fictional reports heard last week suggested that Kaduna refinery could be restarted for base oil production and that Nigerian blenders would not have to be dependent on traders for supplies of base oils from external sources. One source commented that there was more chance of a Nigerian landing on Mars.

The rainy season has started and will run through to September. The rains will slow down the movement of goods and services with roads flooding.

The cargo to be loaded out of either Alexandria or El Dekheila does not appear to be underway. A quantity of 5,000-6,000 tons of bright stock was purchased from a U.S. Atlantic Coast refinery, then shipped to Egypt. Bright stock will be blended with other base oils to produce a main quantity of SN 900. SN 150 and SN 500 would make up the balance of the cargo. As far as is possible to ascertain the parcel remains in tank and has not been loaded and is now around seven weeks late. Payment issues may be the reason for the delay although the part of the cargo was sold to Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., but the remaining part may be subject to payment issues.

Prices CFR Apapa for possible “future” trades, other than Russian barrels, continue to be indicated at around $1,110/t-$1,145/t for SN 150, $1,175/t-$1,200/t for SN 500 and SN 900 at around $1,255/t-$1,235/t.

Russian offers have been much lower. Last levels heard remain indicated at $930/t for SN 150, $970/t for SN 500, with SN 900 at $1,020/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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