U.S. Base Oil Price Report


Several additional price increase initiatives surfaced this week – both on the paraffinic and naphthenic sides of the base oil market – following Chevron’s announcement last week.

Within the API Group I segment, HollyFrontier communicated that the producer would be lifting its SN70 through SN350 cuts by 20 cents per gallon, and its SN500 and bright stock by 15 cents/gal, effective May 2.

Sources indicated that ExxonMobil would be raising its Group I and Group II/II+ light and mid-viscosity grades by 15 cents/gal and its heavy-vis cuts and bright stock by 10 cents/gal as of May 14. The ExxonMobil postings in the Price Table below will be revised during the week that these increases go into effect.

Petro-Canada notified its customers that the producer would be increasing its Group II 70N to 200N postings by 20 cents/gal, and its 350N and 650N grades by 15 cents/gal on May 2. The producer’s Group II+ and Group III postings will remain unchanged at this time.

It was also heard that Excel Paralubes will be increasing Phillips 66’s postings on May 3. The supplier’s Group II 70N and 80N cuts will move up by 19 cents/gal; its 110N grade by 21 cents/gal, its 225N oil by 20 cents/gal and its 600N cut by 10 cents/gal.

Along similar lines, Flint Hills Resources’ postings will also be adjusted up on May 3. Its 70-HC and 75-HC cuts will increase 19 cents/gal; its 100-HC grade 21 cents/gal, its 230-HC cut 20 cents/gal, and its 600-HC oil 10 cents/gal.

Also in the Group II segment, Avista Oil will be lifting its Group II cut by 20 cents/gal on May 7, while the price of its Group III grade remains intact.

In the Group II+ segment, Kleen Performance Products will be increasing all viscosity postings by 20 cents/gallon as of May 7. The adjustment is due to increased feedstock, transportation, and labor costs, the company noted.

Last week, Chevron marked up its Group II 100R and 200R grades by 20 cents/gal, and its 600R by 10 cents/gal, effective April 25, also citing mounting production costs as the main reason for the initiative.

On the naphthenic front, rising crude oil and feedstock costs also pushed producers to seek price hikes, with a snug supply/demand scenario offering additional support.

Ergon communicated an increase of 20 cents per gallon for all of its naphthenic oils in North America, effective May 2.

Similarly, Cross Oil will be lifting its pale oils by 20 cents/gal, but with an effective date of May 7.

San Joaquin Refining will also implement a 20-cent increase which will go into effect on May 8.

Calumet will be increasing prices of all of its naphthenic base oils by 20 cents/gal on May 9.

Sources said that supply in the naphthenic segment had grown increasingly tight on healthy demand, particularly for transformer oils, over the last month.

On the other hand, some pockets in the paraffinic market were starting to see extra availability as demand for certain grades such as the heavy-viscosity oils has begun to soften ahead of the more sedate manufacturing activity during the summer months.

Upstream, crude oil prices changed direction on Tuesday, settling at a two-week low on expectations that crude production and stockpiles in the United States had grown significantly. Prices dropped despite uncertainty about whether the U.S. would pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Futures had jumped on Monday after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of having a secret plan and hidden sites to build nuclear weapons.

West Texas Intermediate futures settled at $67.25 per barrel on the CME/Nymex on Tuesday, May 1, down 45 cents/bbl from $67.70/bbl on April 24.

Light Louisiana Sweet crude wholesale spot prices settled at $72.06 per barrel on April 30, compared to $70.51/bbl on April 23, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Brent settled at $75.17/bbl on the CME on April 30, up $1.31/bbl from $73.86/bbl on April 24.

Low sulfur vacuum gas oil was at Jun WTI plus $11.75/bbl ($80.32/bbl), and high sulfur VGO was at crude plus $10.75/bbl ($79.32/bbl) on April 30. By comparison, low sulfur VGO was hovering at $82.14/bbl, and high sulfur VGO at $80.89/bbl on April 23, according to data published by PetroChemWire.

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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