U.S. Base Oil Price Report

Paraffinic base oil producer Motiva and rerefiner Kleen Performance Products communicated price decreases this week, while Cross Oil joined the group of naphthenic producers that lowered pricing a week ago.

Motiva decreased its API Group II and III postings by 25 cents per gallon across the board, effective Dec. 11. The producer never increased prices back in October and early November, when a majority of paraffinic suppliers implemented price hikes, and therefore did not adjust prices down during the recent round of 20 to 25 cents/gal decreases that were applied on most producers' postings between Nov. 13 and Dec. 1.

Kleen Performance Products confirmed it would trim its Group II+ grades by 15 cents/gal on Dec. 11 as well. The producer's prices were adjusted accordingly for Midwest, West Coast and Northeast quotes. This price reduction follows a preceding decrease of 25 cents/gal, which went into effect Dec. 5.

The downward price adjustments were prompted by market conditions, including slowing demand, growing supply levels and tumbling crude oil and feedstock values.

On the naphthenics front, Cross Oil notified its customers that the company would be decreasing the price on all grades anywhere from three to eight percent per gallon, depending on viscosity grade, as of Dec. 10.

Last week, Ergon, Calumet and San Joaquin Refining had adjusted down all grades of pale oils by 20 cents/gal, with effective dates between Nov. 30 and Dec. 6.

Buyers and sellers hoped that crude oil and raw material prices would stabilize as the market enters the New Year, and agreed that sharp price fluctuations were not good for business.

Crude oil futures crept up on Tuesday, recovering lost territory from the previous session on the back of a weaker dollar and a temporary outage that was affecting Libyan production.

Stock markets have been impacted by the United States trade dispute with China, with global stocks slipping by more than 5 percent so far this month on uncertainties about future economic growth and related crude oil demand.

Meanwhile, in a report issued Tuesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration lowered its oil price forecasts for this year and next, following the recent price declines that came ahead of Fridays decision by the OPEC and some nonmember allies to cut production starting in January, CNBC.com reported.

On Tuesday, Dec. 11, West Texas Intermediate January 2019 futures settled at $51.65 per barrel on the CME/Nymex, down $1.60/bbl from $53.25/bbl on Dec. 4.

Brent futures closed at $60.20/bbl on the CME Tuesday afternoon, and had settled at $62.08/bbl on Dec. 4.

Light Louisiana Sweet crude wholesale spot prices settled at $57.95/bbl on Dec. 10, compared to $59.86/bbl on Dec. 3, according to the EIA.

Low sulfur vacuum gas oil was at Jan WTI plus $15.75/bbl ($66.75/bbl) and high sulfur VGO was at crude plus $15.25/bbl ($66.25/bbl) on Dec. 10. By comparison, low sulfur VGO was hovering at $67.84/bbl and high sulfur VGO at $67.59/bbl on Dec. 3, 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.