U.S. Base Oil Price Report


A slew of base oil price reduction announcements reached U.S. market players this week in both the paraffinic and naphthenic sectors. The latest downward adjustments follow a handful of price cut notices reported a week earlier and range between minus 25 to 40 cents per gallon.

Paraffinic Sector

SK told its customers that it slashed 35 cents/gal across the board from its U-base API Group II+/III base oils on Friday, July 13.

HollyFrontier trimmed its 70 vis by 30 cents/gal, removed 27 cents/gal from 100 vis and took off 32 cents/gal from 150 vis. Also, 250 vis lost 40 cents/gal, 525 vis shed 29 cents/gal and bright stock tumbled by 29 cents/gal. These adjustments were effective on July 13.

ExxonMobil told its customers that it reduced its Group I and Group II+ postings by a flat 29 cents/gal for all its neutrals. Direct buyers said that these price cuts were effective on Tuesday, July 17.

Yesterday, July 17, Calumet adjusted its Group I 700 neutral down by 40 cents/gal and pushed down bright stock by 25 cents/gal. Group II 80 vis through 150 vis grades lost 30 cents/gal and 325 vis went down by 35 cents/gal.

On Friday, July 20, Paulsboro Refining will adjust downward all of its Group I grades by a flat 29 cents/gal.

In early editions last week, the U.S. Base Oil price chart omitted Paulsboros July 6 price cuts of 12 cents/gal on 100 vis and 10 cents on all other grades. The chart was corrected July 12.

Naphthenic Sector
Today, July 18, Ergon told its customers that it dropped its prices by 21 cents/gal for 60 SUS pale oil and lighter grades. The company reduced all other grades by 26 cents/gal.

Cross Oil said it will chop its naphthenic oils by 25 cents/gal across the board. Adjusted prices will go into effect on Friday, July 20.

Calumet also plans to reduce prices for its pale oil lineup. The company will lower 60 vis and lighter cuts (including transformer oil) by 20 cents/gal. The Louisiana-based refiner will chop 25 cents/gal for all other grades on Tuesday, July 24.

Although the aforementioned paraffinic and naphthenic price adjustments (along with previously reported price cuts), are in effect (or will be soon), participants from both the buy and sell sides of the market continue to be somewhat bemused by descending prices. They point out that demand remains steady while feedstock costs are on the rise. Granted, a few players admit that the global economic outlook remains a bit shaky, particularly in Europe and Asia, which is likely a key motivator for base oil producers to chop prices.

At the close of the Tuesday, July 17, CME/Nymex session, front month light sweet crude oil futures ended the day at $89.22 per barrel, a large gain of $5.31 /bbl from last weeks settlement at $83.91.

Brent crude was trading at $103.85/bbl at the end of the day yesterday, gaining $6.02/bbl from its week-ago level at $97.83. LLS (Light Louisiana Sweet) crude was trading at a premium of about $18/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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