U.S. Base Oil Price Report

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Two additional API Group I producers jumped into the ring this week and announced that they would lower solvent neutrals and bright stock between 16 cents and 28 cents per gallon. These plans follow other initiatives that were put in motion by ExxonMobil earlier this month.

HollyFrontier said it reduced its lineup of all solvent neutrals by 16 cents/gal, and dropped bright stock by 26 cents/gal, on Monday, Dec. 10.

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Calumet also announced that it would shift its 700 solvent neutral lower by 18 cents, while chopping off 28 cents/gal from its bright stock. The new postings became effective today, Dec. 12.

The price chart below has been fully updated to reflect all changes for Group I posted prices. This round of decreases comes on the heels of the early November adjustments where Group I base oils were amended by minus 20-21 cents/gal.

Group II/II+/III posted prices were also taken down during November, but whether postings will dip even lower before year end is debatable, according to industry sources.

There are some players who expect another round of price cuts from Group II and III producers, as they believe the gap between Group I and II is too wide and should be amended. Conversely, there are others who believe it is unlikely another decrease would be issued this year, due to already sizable established discounts given off postings.

Sources noted that many suppliers have ample availability and they are being aggressive in pricing. In several other cases, producers are unwilling to offer steep discounts, but rather they are keeping offers nearer posted price points (perhaps agreeable to only a small discount further).

At the close of the Tuesday, Dec. 11, CME/Nymex session, front month light sweet crude oil futures ended the day at $85.79/barrel, dipping $2.71/bbl from last weeks settlement at $88.50.

Brent Crude was trading at $108.12/bbl at the end of the day yesterday, slipping $1.77/bbl from its week-ago level of $109.89. LLS (Light Louisiana Sweet) crude was trading at a premium of about $23.45/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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