The U.S. base oils market was abuzz this week with a slew of posted price announcements being issued to customers. A week earlier Motiva opened the door for reductions on API Group II base stocks, and the remainder of producers have since jumped on board and lowered prices. Group II+ and III grades are also included in the moves.
Group II category:
Following the 25 to 38 cents per gallon decrease by Motiva on Nov. 7, Chevron reported that it would reduce its lineup of base oils. The West Coast producer lowered its 100 vis by 38 cents/gal, pushed down 220 vis by 30 cents/gal and chopped 25 cents/gal from the 600 vis, effective Nov. 8.
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Phillips 66 told its customers that effective Nov. 8, it lowered its 70 and 80 neutrals by 48 cents/gal. The company decreased its 110 vis by 40 cents/gal and 225 vis by 30, while cutting off 25 cents/gal from is 600 vis.
Flint Hills Resources said it had dropped its 70 and 75 vis grades by 35 cents/gal, while lowering 100 vis by 40 cents/gal. The refiner also chopped 230 neutral by 33 cents/gal and 600 vis by 23 cents/gal. The reductions were effective on Friday, Nov. 9.
Calumet Specialty Products said it plans to adjust its Group II base oils on Thursday, Nov. 15. The producer will chop 40 cents/gal from its 80, 100, 150 vis grades and reduce 325 vis by 25 cents/gal.
Group II+/III categories:
Phillips 66 announced that it had decreased its Ultra S grades on Nov. 8 between 30 and 60 cents/gal. In the Group II+ sector, the exclusive marketer in North America for S-oil reduced the S2 and S3 cuts by 45 cents/gal and for the Group III base oils, the 4cSt was lowered by 30 cents/gal and 8cSt was trimmed by 60 cents/gal.
SK said it moved its Yubase oils postings today, Nov. 14. The company cut 45 cents/gal from its Group II+ 3cSt. For the Group III grades, SK knocked off 30 cents/gal from the 4 and 6 cSt oils and chopped 60 cents/gal from the 8 cSt.
According to direct customers, ExxonMobil plans to shift its Group II+ grades down 30 cents/gal for both the EHC 45 (110 vis) and EHC 60 (190 vis), effective Thursday, Nov. 15
With regard to market activity, contractual business was viewed as ongoing but slowed heading into the Thanksgiving holiday. Spot activity remained low-key. It appeared that domestic consumers were not in the mood to purchase too much spot volumes, as it seemed that steeply discounted offers were no longer available, especially now that posted prices had been heavily adjusted downward, sources pointed out.
Exports were few and far between, but any recent activity ex United States was long-planned and cargoes are likely heading to Europe or Asia. Barge loads or rail-car spot movements were likely destined for Mexico, a few traders suggested, although they thought that some quantities would land with a few domestic consumers.
Meanwhile, it was understood that SK Lubricants will begin receiving deep-sea shipments into an East Coast terminal. The company acknowledged that it is growing its business in the northeast. Cargo shipments will arrive on a regular basis, with the first load carrying an estimated 3,000 m/t expected in December.
At the close of the Tuesday, Nov. 13, CME/Nymex session, front month light sweet crude oil futures ended the day at $85.38/barrel, shedding $3.33/bbl from last weeks settlement at $88.71.
Brent Crude was trading at $108.19/bbl at the end of yesterday, down $2.62/bbl from its week-ago level of $110.81. LLS (Light Louisiana Sweet) crude was trading at a premium of about $21.20/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.