Asia Base Oil Price Report


A major Singapore refiner will increase its API Group I and II prices by $20-$40/metric ton, effective Aug. 1, market sources said this week. The refiner will be lifting its Group I cuts by $20/ton, with the exception of bright stock, which will see an increase of $40/ton. The companys Group II 150N and 500N will also be raised by $20/ton. It was also heard that there would be no increase for Group I heavy neutrals moving to India.

The news did not surprise market players, as suppliers have been feeling pressure from firming feedstock prices, while a tight market scenario in the region provided additional support to the increase.

Other suppliers said that they would likely try to implement similar hikes on August spot transactions, although negotiations are still in their initial stages. A Northeast Asian supplier said that the ex-tank Singapore price increase would likely impact its spot offers to China and India, but that the company would be watching market developments to see whether other suppliers would be seeking similar increases before pushing a hike.

For the time being, however, prices in Asia were generally said to be stable, with pockets of the market seeing more activity than others. Demand for the heavy grades and bright stock, for instance, was said to be healthier than for the lighter cuts. The market remains on the tight side because of ongoing turnarounds at South Korean, Taiwanese and Chinese base oil plants, but once these facilities are restarted, suppliers worry that the market will become slightly oversupplied. Some sources said they were bracing for increased supply and lower prices in September, while others expected conditions to turn softer later in the year.

At the moment, S-Oils Group II facilities in Onsan, South Korea, are still undergoing a turnaround, but are expected to restart in early August.

In Taiwan, Formosa plans to shut down its Group II facility in Mailiao in August and September for a routine turnaround.

Hainan Handi in China will be shutting down its Group II plant for three months, starting in July. Also in China, Daqing Refining and Chemical plans to take its Group II plant off-line from early August until early September. Sources also mentioned supply reductions at the Sinopec Jingmen, Sinopec Beijing Yanshan and Sinopec Henan Oilfield plants during July.

In Taiwan, Chinese Petroleum Corp.-Shells Group I plant at Kaohsiung was heard to have been brought back on line, following yearly maintenance. The supplier expects to be able to offer spot tonnage in August.

As far as prices are concerned, Group I ex-tank Singapore ranges were heard near $1010-$1080/ton for SN150, $1060-$1160/t for SN500 and $1160-$1260/t for bright stock this week. Prices may vary according to volumes and other stipulations and do not reflect the announced price increases by a major Singapore refiner, as the implementation date is Aug. 1.

On an FOB Asia basis, prices were mentioned at $940-$960/t for SN150, $990-$1030/t for SN500 and $1090-$1140/t for bright stock.

Group II material was assessed at $970-$1030/t FOB NE Asia for 150N and at $1060-$1110/t FOB NE Asia for 500N.

Group III spot prices were heard at $1000-$1050/t FOB Asia range for 4 cSt, 6 cSt and 8 cSt cuts.

In China, the National Development and Reform Commission announced that the price of gasoline and diesel oil will be increased by CNY (Chinese Yuan) 325/ton and CNY 310/ton respectively, effective July 20.

On the shipping front, a barrage of inquiries was seen this week, with 800 metric tons of two base oil grades expected to move from Onsan to Singapore for delivery in second half August. A second 1,000-ton cargo was being worked on from Onsan to Tianjin Aug. 1-10. Also bound for Tianjin was a second parcel of two grades, but it was expected to load in Yosu during July 20-26. An 8,000-ton lot was discussed for Ulsan-Taicang and Shanghai for Aug. 1-5 loading, while 1,000 tons were likely to be shipped from Yosu to Ho Chi Minh during July 31-Aug. 5. A 4,500-ton parcel was expected to move from Hong Kong to Zhapu and Tianjin Aug. 25-29. Finally, a 2,000-ton cargo was on the market for Port Klang-Singapore during end July-early August lifting.

Upstream, September Brent settled in Asia at $107.92/bbl on July 23, compared to August numbers at $109.51/bbl on July 16.

Gabriela Wheeler, based in Japan, can be reached directly at

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