U.S. Base Oil Price Report

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Flint Hills Resources, HollyFrontier, Chevron, SK, Paulsboro, Kleen Performance Products and Ergon joined the group of producers who have implemented price increases on paraffinic base oils, while Calumet and Cross Oil each stepped out with initiatives for naphthenic oils as well.

Within the Group I segment, HollyFrontier announced a price increase of 12 cents per gallon for its Group I SN70 through SN350 grades, and 15 cents/gal for its SN500 cut and bright stock, effective March 10.

Paulsboro Refining also raised the posted price of its Group I oils, with the light grades (100 and 165 vis) moving up by 12 cents/gal, and its heavy grades (500 through bright stock) by 15 cents/gal as of March 14.

It was also heard that Ergon would be marking up its Hygold paraffinic base oils P40 through P600 and its bright stock by 15 cents/gal, with the hikes going into effect on March 15 (Ergon does not post prices on the Price Table below).

In the Group II tier, Flint Hills Resources marked up all of its posted prices by 10 cents/gal, effective March 10.

Chevron communicated that the company was increasing its 100R, 220R and 600R base oils by 10 cents/gal, effective March 15.

According to sources, Petro-Canada also lifted its Group II/III base oils by 12 cents/gal as of March 13 (Petro-Canadas base oil prices are not posted on the price table below).

Within the Group III category, SK communicated that the company would be increasing its YUBASE 3, 4 and 6 base oils posted prices by 20 cents/gal and its YUBASE 8 grade 25 cents/gal, with an effective date of March 15.

Kleen Performance Products raised postings for its Group II+ RHT 120 by 15 cents/gal and its Group II+ RHT 240 base oil by 20 cents/gallon, effective March 10.

These increases round up a series of price hikes implemented last week by Motiva, Phillips 66, ExxonMobil, Calumet and Avista Oil.

On the naphthenic side of the business, Calumet will be lifting all of its pale oils 15 cents per gallon, effective March 23.

Close on the heels of Calumets announcement, Cross Oil stepped out with a 15 cent/gal increase on all of its naphthenic oils, which will go into effect on March 20.

Other naphthenic base oil producers were understood to be considering potential price revisions as well, but no other announcements were received by close of business.

It was also heard that Ergon’s plant in Newell, W.V., will be taken off-line in a couple of weeks for a brief maintenance shutdown. The plant has capacity to produce 1,900 barrels per day of Group I oils and 2,900 b/d of Group II cuts.

Ergon’s Vicksburg, Miss., naphthenics plant is up and running well, according to a company source. The plant can produce 22,000 b/d of pale oils.

All of the aforementioned price hikes were spurred by tight supply – given current and upcoming turnarounds at a number of U.S. base oil facilities – together with steady demand and firm crude oil prices in recent weeks.

Oddly enough, just after the base oil increases were communicated, crude oil prices dropped to levels not seen since November in the high $40s per barrel, and appeared to be under pressure because of rising U.S. crude inventories.

Oil futures extended losses on Tuesday, after a monthly OPEC report showed production out of Saudi Arabia had increased back above 10 million barrels per day, together with a significant rise in U.S. output.

West Texas Intermediate futures on the CME/Nymex settled at $47.72 per barrel on March 14, down $5.42/bbl from the March 7 settlement of $53.14/bbl.

Light Louisiana Sweet wholesale spot prices closed at $49.65/barrel on March 13, down from $54.94/bbl on March 6, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Brent was trading at $50.92/bbl on the CME on March 7, down $5/bbl from $55.92/bbl on Feb. 28.

Historic U.S. posted base oil prices and WTI and Brent crude spot prices are available for purchase in Excel format.

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