U.S. Base Oil Price Report


After weeks of anticipation, Motiva pushed posted prices higher by a whopping 50 to 55 cents per gallon. This completed a full round of paraffinic hikes initiated by ExxonMobil May 19.

On Friday, June 10, Motiva upped its API Group II Star 3, 6 and 12 (70 vis, 220 vis and 600 vis respectively) by 50 cents per gallon and added 55 cents/gal to its Star 4 (110 vis). In the Group II+ category, the company pushed its Star 5+ (120 vis) higher by 55 cents/gal.

Sources added that Motivas 40,300 barrel per day Port Arthur, Texas, base oil facility – the worlds largest – remains in turnaround while the company completes maintenance on one of its three trains. The downtime, which commenced in the latter part of May, is expected to last through June, with start-up expected in early July.

Customers bemoaned the fact that the large supplier continues its 50 percent sales allocation for Star 6 and 110 percent allocation for Star 5+. Its uncertain how long these plans will remain in effect.

Not only Motiva has curtailed sales. A number of other paraffinic producers are also maintaining sales controls on many grades. Bright stock, some light and heavy vis grades and premium neutrals all remain extremely scarce.

Sellers say that buyers seem to have settled down a bit this week, screaming a little less about the lack of availability. Difficult supply conditions have plagued the market the past few months, while demand has been very strong. The arrival of the summer holiday season could open the door for supply/demand fundamentals to improve. At least that is what many players hope will transpire.

Looking upstream, there has been no let-up in the high costs of feed stock. Base oil producers still have to contend with paying a premium of at least $20 per barrel over benchmark WTI crude for either sweet or sour crude (domestic or imported) or vacuum gas oil.

At the close of the Tuesday, June 14, NYMEX session, front month light sweet crude oil futures ended the day at $99.37 per barrel, up 28 cents from the week earlier settlement at $99.09/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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