U.S. Base Oil Price Report


Two additional price increase announcements surfaced in the U.S. base oil market this week, with sources reporting that ExxonMobil and Paulsboro would be lifting the price of heavy-viscosity cuts.

According to sources, ExxonMobil will raise prices for its API Group I 600 cut by 20 cents per gallon, effective Friday, May 8.

Paulsboro will also be lifting its Group I SN500 and SN700 cuts by the same amount on Wednesday, May 13.

These increases follow recent upward adjustments on bright stock postings, which were mostly motivated by tight supply conditions.

Base oil market participants had suspected that suppliers would be revising prices if crude oil futures surpassed the $60 per barrel mark, which is what occurred this week.

The climbing crude oil and vacuum gasoil (VGO) prices are “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” prompting at least a couple of producers to move base oil prices up, a source commented.

A tight supply and demand scenario for the heavy-vis cuts provided additional support to the increase initiatives.

The heavy-vis grades in both the Group I and II categories have seen demand flourish and supplies dwindle during spring, while the lighter grades have been more readily available.

Within the Group II segment, in particular, there appears to be an imbalance in the amounts of heavy-vis versus light-vis cuts that are in the hands of suppliers.

This has led to offers of heavy-vis grades bundled with some volumes of their lighter counterparts for export transactions, as producers seek to find a home for the lighter oils, sources said.

Spot prices of the heavy grades have been moving up almost daily, and discounts are being removed, which has prompted a number of blenders to secure cargoes before prices go up further.

The Venezuelan tender that was floated last week, which called for a large amount of Group I cuts to be delivered in three different shipments starting in May, has been awarded to Shell Trading, according to sources. Further details could not be obtained.

On the naphthenics side, fundamentals are stable, with inventories deemed generally balanced against requirements and prices showing few fluctuations. As is the case for paraffinic oils, pale oils are also exposed to pressure from strengthening crude oil prices.

Upstream, West Texas Intermediate futures climbed to their highest levels since December following protests that stopped crude shipments to Libyan ports and curtailed exports. Prices also received support from news that Saudi Arabia had raised its official prices for the Arab Light grade crude sold to the United States and northwestern Europe.

WTI settled on the CME/Nymex at $60.40 per barrel on May 4, up by $3.34 per barrel from a settlement at $57.06 per barrel on April 28.

Brent crude was trading around $67.52 per barrel on the CME on May 4, up $2.88 per barrel from $64.64 per barrel a week ago.

Historic U.S. posted base oil prices and WTI and Brent crude spot prices are available for purchase in Excel format.

Related Topics

Base Oil Reports    Base Stocks    Market Topics    Other