U.S. Base Oil Price Report


News of posted price hikes from Holly Corp., Chevron, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Calumet reached the market over the past week, following previously announced price adjustments by several other paraffinic producers. This week’s confirmed increases ranged from 11 to 25 cents per gallon.

Holly raised its API Group I oils on Friday, March 12. SN 70 went up 15 cents/gallon, SN 100, 148 and 250 vis grades rose by 20 cents/gal, while SN 500 and bright stock shot up 25 cents/gal.

Also on March 12, Chevron lifted its Group II 100 and 600 neutrals by 20 cents/gal, and increased 220 vis by 18 cents/gal.

Direct buyers said that ExxonMobil also laid out plans to lift its Group I American Core grades yesterday, March 16. According to these customers, ExxonMobil will boost its SN 100 by 20 cents/gal, SN 150 by 17 cents/gal, SN 330 by 10 cents/gal, SN 600 by 18 cents/gal and bright stock by 20 cents/gal. EHC Group II+ 110 vis was unchanged while 190 vis rose by 13 cents/gal.

Today, March 17, ConocoPhillips pushed up its Group II 70N and 80N by 11 cents/gal, 110N went up 20 cents/gal, 225N bounced higher 18 cents/gal and 600N climbed 20 cents/gal. The company also confirmed that Ultra-S Group II+ oils will each climb by 13 cents/gal while the Group III postings were unchanged. ConocoPhillips markets S-Oils Group III oils in North America.

On Friday, March 19, Calumet will adjust its line-up of Group I and II postings by 20 cents/gal for all grades except bright stock, which will be increased by 25 cents/gal.

Cross Oil said it plans to increase its heavy-end naphthenic oils, 1200 vis and heavier, by 15 cents/gal on March 22. This impending hike largely reflects strong demand from the rubber and tire sectors alongside scant availability.

Sources said that paraffinic producers raised base oils postings because of steeper feedstock costs, mainly rising vacuum gasoil (VGO) prices. VGO is a key factor in the pricing of base oils.

Calumet said that it has a two-week routine turnaround scheduled at its 11,900 barrel per day Shreveport, La., facility commencing in early April. The company said it is building inventories in advance, in an effort to take care of normal business commitments. Calumet indicated that grades 325 through bright stock could tighten quickly, however, due to strong demand coupled with the recent operating issues that the plant endured in February.

Looking upstream, OPEC oil ministers have indicated that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would agree to keep production targets at present levels when the 12-nation group meets today, March 17, in Vienna, Austria.

The informal policy setters for OPEC expect oil prices of between $70 and $85 per barrel, and daily output close to 27 million barrels, to prevail for all of 2010.

At the close of the Tuesday, March 16, NYMEX session, light sweet crude futures ended at $81.70 per barrel, a gain of 21 cents compared to the March 9 settlement at $81.49/bbl.

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

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