U.S. Base Oil Price Report

Chevron, Paulsboro and Kleen Performance Products stepped out with price increases this week, following ExxonMobils initiative, which was communicated a few days ago.

On Thursday, Oct. 4, Chevron notified its customers that the producer would increasing its API Group II posted prices by 20 cents per gallon, effective Oct. 9, to reflect current market conditions.

The producer was referring to escalating crude oil, feedstock and transportation costs, together with a slight tightening of the light viscosity base oil grades, as factors pushing base stock prices up.

Similarly, Kleen Performance Products lifted the price of its Group II+ products by 20 cents/gal, with the hike becoming effective on shipments starting on Oct. 9. The producer also cited market conditions as the driver behind the initiative.

Paulsboro will also be raising its Group I postings by 20 cents/gal on Oct. 15 due to current fundamentals.

Last week, sources reported that ExxonMobil would be marking up its Group I, II and II+ base oil postings by 20 cents/gal per gallon, effective Oct. 10. Although the producer communicated the price adjustment last week, the increase will be reflected in this weeks edition of Lube Report because of its effective date.

Naphthenic producers had previously announced price increases as well, with numbers for pale oils moving up by 15 cents/gal between Sept. 28 and Oct. 4.

Base oil activity was slowly regaining its pace as participants returned to their place of business, following the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Associations (ILMA) meeting in Palm Desert, California, on Oct. 6-9.

Sources said that orders were at predicted levels for this time of the year, and that U.S. base oils continued to move regularly into Mexico, but noted that export prices were lagging the increases in raw material costs.

Market players were also keeping an eye on Hurricane Michael, which was rapidly moving from the Caribbean towards Florida and was also expected to reach southern Georgia, southeast Alabama and the Carolinas on Wednesday.

Crude oil futures rose on Tuesday as the approaching hurricane forced oil companies to halt production along the Gulf Coast, increasing concerns about global supply.

At least 20 percent of Gulf Coast oil production was offline on Tuesday morning. The storm was expected to make landfall along the Florida Panhandle as a Category 3 major hurricane on Wednesday.

Uncertainty regarding the impact that U.S. sanctions on Iran would have on the global supply of crude continued to support futures as well.

On Tuesday, Oct. 9, West Texas Intermediate October futures settled at $74.96 per barrel on the CME/Nymex, down 27 cents from $75.23/bbl on Oct. 2.

Brent was trading at $85/bbl on the CME Tuesday afternoon, and had settled at $84.80/bbl on Oct. 2.

Light Louisiana Sweet crude wholesale spot prices settled at $82.77/bbl on Oct. 8, compared to $83.37/bbl on Oct. 1, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Low sulfur vacuum gas oil was at November WTI crude plus $17.75/bbl ($92.04/bbl) and high sulfur was at crude plus $16.75/bbl ($91.04/bbl). By comparison, low sulfur VGO was hovering at $92.80/bbl and high sulfur VGO at $91.80/bbl on Oct. 1, according to data published by PetroChemWire.

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