U.S. Base Oil Price Report


HollyFrontier, Safety-Kleen and Calumet hastened to catch the most recent wave of base oil price decreases, announcing markdowns of their own this week.

HollyFrontier moved its API Group I base oils down 10 cents per gallon, except for its bright stock, which underwent a reduction of 15 cents/gal effective Oct. 26.

Calumet lowered the price of all its paraffinic oils (Group I and II) 10 cents/gal on Oct. 27, but as was the case with HollyFrontier, the producer’s bright stock was trimmed 15 cents/gal.

ExxonMobil and Paulsboro had also revised down its Group I postings by 10 cents/gal on Oct. 21, barring bright stock, which dropped 15 cents/gal on Oct. 26 respectively.

Bright stock has been in tight supply for most of the year, and consequently, its price had advanced more than other Group I grades. It also dodged recent Group I decreases, even when crude oil prices plunged, a source noted.

The price gap between the heavy-viscosity SN600 and bright stock was also getting too wide, which led blenders to try to formulate with other heavy grades, another source added.

While bright stock supply remains on the snug side, there were reports that some competitively priced cargoes had become available from Brazilian producer Petrobras for the U.S. and Mexico, and the price cuts may have been a way to discourage those cargoes from entering the domestic system.

In the Group II category, Motiva had led the fresh round of decreases on Oct. 14, and was soon followed by Flint Hills Resources, Phillips 66, and Chevron, with the movements resulting in 10 cent and 12 cent decreases, depending on the cut and the producer.

Within the Group II+ segment, Safety-Kleen adjusted down postings for its 120 and 240-vis oils by 7 cents per gallon on Oct. 26. This compares to ExxonMobil’s decrease for its Group II+ EHC45 cut, which also edged down 7 cents/gal last week.

Clean Harbors, Safety-Kleen’s parent company, announced the formation of Kleen Performance Products, a new business unit dedicated to the research, development, sales, and distribution of its engine oils, industrial products, and lubricants, as well as Safety-Kleen’s rerefined base oils (see related story in this issue of Lube Report). As a result, Safety-Kleen’s posted prices will now appear under the “Kleen Performance” heading in the price table below.

Upstream, West Texas Intermediate futures dropped on Tuesday, remaining at a two-month low after the U.S. government announced plans to sell millions of barrels of oil from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

West Texas Intermediate closed on the CME/Nymex at $43.20 per barrel on Oct. 27, down $2.35 per bbl from its Oct. 20 settlement of $45.55.

Brent was trading around $46.81/bbl on the CME on Oct. 27, down $1.90 cents/bbl from $48.71/bbl a week earlier.

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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