August Base Oil Output Up from 2020

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August Base Oil Output Up from 2020
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The United States produced 5.5 million barrels of base oil in August, according to the latest data from the federal Energy Information Agency, 19% better than the same month of 2020 but less than levels preceding the COVID-19 crisis.

August output was dinged by Hurricane Ida, which disrupted operations in the heart of the U.S. oil industry a few days before the end of the month. Impacts on production of paraffinic base oils outweighed a bumper month for naphthenic varieties.

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The 5.5 million barrels of base oils that refiners produced in August was down slightly from 5.6 million barrels in July of this year. Not surprisingly it was significantly better than the corresponding month of 2020, when the industry was just beginning to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

Output from this August was 4% lower than the average for the five Augusts from 2015 to 2019. It was the second consecutive month that production ran below pre-pandemic levels after running slightly ahead in May and June.

August production of paraffinic base oils was 4.6 million barrels, EIA reported, down 7% from the average for the five Augusts before COVID-19 but 18% better than the same month of 2020. The largest chunk of U.S. paraffinic base oil refining capacity is along the Gulf of Mexico coast, where Ida made landfall on Aug. 27.

The storm caused less damage than some hurricanes, but several refineries closed for short periods as precautions. Ida’s impact probably carried over into September.

U.S. refiners made 909,000 barrels of naphthenic base oils in August, the most since October of 2019. The August total was 27% better than the same month of 2020 and 14% higher than the average for the five Augusts preceding the pandemic.

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