U.S. Base Oil Price Report


ExxonMobil, Chevron, Motiva and Calumet alerted customers that API Group II and II+ posted prices have been adjusted down by 10 cents to 48 cents per gallon. These moves wrap up a full round of U.S. price decreases for these two categories.

Direct customers of ExxonMobil said that the major shaved 25 cents/gal from the Group II+ EHC 45 (110 vis) posting and took 20 cents/gal from the EHC 60 (190 vis) posting. These reductions were effective Friday, Dec. 9.

Motiva told its customers that it lowered its line-up of Group II Star grades as follows: Star 4 (110 vis) down 48 cents/gal; Star 6 (220) down 43 cents/gal; Star 12 (600) down 23 cents/gal, effective Monday, Dec. 12.

Chevron also reduced its posted prices on Monday, Dec. 12. The producer took 20 cents/gal off 100 and 220 neutrals and knocked 10 cents/gal from the 600 vis posting.

Completing the Group II round of price cuts, Calumet lowered its 80, 100, 150 and 325 vis grades by 20 cents/gal on Tuesday, Dec. 13.

Chevrons Richmond, Calif., refinery was said to be up and running again. The refiner had taken the facility down for a scheduled six-week turnaround in early October. An unexpected fire, which was quickly extinguished, delayed the start-up originally planned for mid-November. Sources now report that the Richmond plant was restarted successfully earlier this month, with production at full rates. Despite the success of the start-up, sources reiterated that Chevron continues to enforce its long-standing sales allocation program.

As reported in Lube Report last year, Motiva will cease production of its Star 3 Group II 70 vis and its Star 5+ Group II+ 130 vis grades effective Jan. 1, 2012. The company had provided customers with 15 months of advance notice. Motiva said, when it announced the changes last year, it planned to focus on areas that complement our processing capabilities and operating efficiencies as well as the needs of the marketplace.

Motiva did not adjust the posted prices this week for the two grades that will be discontinued at months end.

Noting the significant amount by which Motiva decreased postings, some Motiva direct customers said that their contracts were based on the lowest Group II postings, not on Motivas, prior to this latest move.

Sources also confirmed that Motivas sales allocation was lifted on Star 4 within the past several weeks.

There are still some worries over feedstock costs for many operators. Crude oil values have been holding at high levels, near the $100 per barrel mark, for several weeks. Vacuum gas oil differentials are around $10/bbl and $14/bbl over WTI for high and low sulfur VGO respectively.

At the close of the Tuesday, Dec. 13, CME/Nymex session, front month light sweet crude oil futures ended the day at $100.41 per barrel, down by 87 cents/bbl from last weeks settlement at $101.28.

Brent crude was trading at $109.51/bbl at the end of the day yesterday, down $1.22/bbl from its week-ago level at $110.73. LLS (Light Louisiana Sweet) crude was trading at a premium of about $11.25/bbl to WTI on Tuesday.

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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