April base oil production in the United States was 13.2% lower than the five-year running average for that month, after a similar decline in March, according to data released last week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Output of naphthenic base stocks suffered more than paraffinics as the nation locked down to curb the spread of COVID-19.
U.S. refiners produced 4.5 million barrels of mineral base oils during April, after producing an average of 5.2 million barrels during that month the previous five years. Paraffinic output was down 9.5% to 3.9 million barrels, while pale oils were off by 31.8% at 580,000 barrels.
April results were similar to March. Total production was 4.4 million barrels during that month this year, 13.3% lower than the running five-year average of 5 million barrels. Paraffinics were off by 8.4% during that month at 3.9 million barrels, while naphthenics were down by 40% at 472,000 barrels.
February production had the biggest drop this year, down by 20% at 3.7 million barrels.
Base oil demand fell sharply during lockdowns as distances driven cratered and many industries reduced operations. Some base oil plants also reduced production as refiners cut back on operations to cope with a fuels glut.