Ukraine Faces Base Oil Shortage


Ukraine is bracing for limited availability of key base oil products through this summer as plants in Russia and Belarus start regular maintenance cycles and base oil demand increases in Russia, according to an oil association in Kiev.

Russia and Belarus are Ukraine’s main base oil suppliers.

In Russia, the Gazprom Neft’s Omsk 260,000 metric tons per year API Group I base oil plant is about to begin a scheduled maintenance turnaround in February, while Slavneft’s 150,000 t/y Group I plant in Yaroslavl will begin a temporary shutdown in March. In Belarus, maintenance on Naftan’s 198,000 t/y Group I plant is scheduled to start in April.

Ukraine imported 143,200 tons of base oils last year, down 19% from 2019, according to the Ukrainian association of lubricant producers, known as Masma. The bulk came from its bigger neighbor Russia. The largest Ukrainian base oil importers are LLK Ukraine, the official importer of Lukoil products to the country, the Berdnyansk-based Azmol and DMS Trade from Zaporozhye.

As in most markets, lubricant demand in Ukraine fell last year in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ukrainian market has begun to recover, but the Russian market has undergone a similar rebound since December, causing more of the base oil produced in Russia to remain there and less to be available for export to Ukraine. Mamsa said recently that it expects the shortage to last throughout the spring and summer.

“At the moment, in Ukraine the availability of Group I base oils is an issue,” the association told NaftoRynok energy newsletter last week. “We are speaking about products such as solvent neutral 500 and bright stock.”

Mamsa added that the current shortage of Group I base oils in Ukraine and in Europe is being aggravated by regular maintenance scheduled at some of base oil plants in the Mediterranean region, such as Tupras in Izmir, Turkey.

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