U.S. Base Oil Price Report


Even though some players felt this was a long time coming, a spate of price announcements reached the U.S. base oils market this week. Moves in the API Group II sector were made by Motiva, Chevron and Calumet, in the region of 15 cents to 20 cents/gal. In the Group I category, HollyFrontier, Paulsboro and Calumet issued price hikes of 10 cents to 20 cents/gal.

Group II
Motiva informed its customers that it upped its Group II base oil postings on Monday, March 11. Star 4 (110 vis) and Star 6 (220 vis) were pulled up by 15 cents/gal. The company did not implement any change to its Star 12 (600 vis) posting.

West Coast refiner Chevron raised its Group II posted prices by 20 cents/gal across-the-board on Tuesday, March 12. Revised postings include 100R, 220R and 600R.

Calumet increased postings for its Group II paraffinic neutrals, including 80, 100, 150 and 325 vis, by 15 cents/gal today, March 13.

Group I
HollyFrontier stepped out with a 10 cent/gal hike for its 525 vis solvent neutral and lifted bright stock by 20 cents/gal, effective Monday, March 11.

Paulsboro Refining followed suit. The East Coast producer increased its heavy neutral 500 and 700 vis grades by 10 cents/gal, while hiking bright stock by 20 cents/gal. These revised postings were effective on Tuesday, March 12.

In a similar fashion, Calumet also pushed up its heavy vis 700 posting by 10 cents/gal and raised bright stock by 20 cents/gal today, March 13.

All the above Group I/II price moves follow a trend that began in mid-February, initiated by Phillips 66.

Steeply rising operating costs alongside depleted margins are being cited as the main justification for this round of price hikes, sources said. Improved demand was also added in the mix for rising prices.

During this extended round of price moves so far, Group II+ and III premium grades remain unchanged.

Suppliers said that February volumes tallied healthy levels, much improved over January, but that March appeared to be off to a slow start. Some sellers attributed this to nationwide school spring breaks, which slowed down some activity this week and last. But they pointed out that orders heading into the second half of March are strong, and they arent worried that demand will lose steam.

At the close of the Tuesday, March 12, CME/Nymex session, front month light sweet crude oil futures ended the day at $92.54 per barrel, bouncing back $1.72/bbl from last weeks settlement at $90.82.

Brent Crude was trading at $109.63/bbl at the end of the day yesterday, slipping $2.12/bbl from its week-ago level of $111.75.

LLS (Light Louisiana Sweet) crude was trading at a premium of $19.80/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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