U.S. Base Oil Price Report


Phillips 66, Chevron, Flint Hills Resources, Calumet and SK are lowering posted prices, carrying on the baton of downward adjustments initiated by Motiva on Dec. 1.

Phillips 66 communicated a decrease of 10 cents per gallon for its API Group II 70, 80, 110 and 225 viscosity grade oils, and 15 cents/gal for its 600-vis cut. The supplier’s Group II+ and III Ultra-S cuts also underwent reductions of 20 cents/gal, with all of the revisions becoming effective Dec. 3.

Also in the Group II category, Chevron stepped out with decreases of 10 cents/gal for its 100R and 600R oils, and 15 cents/gal for its 220R cut; these changes will be implemented on Dec. 9 “to reflect current market conditions,” a company source said.

Flint Hills Resources will be dropping the price of its Group II 100HC and 230HC oils 10 cents/gal, and its 70/75HC and 600HC grades 13 cents/gal on Dec. 9.

Calumet notified its customers that it would be lowering all of its Group II cuts by 10 cents/gal, effective Dec. 10. The company did not alter its Group I postings.

In the Group II+/III segment, SK trimmed its prices 20 cents/gal across the board as of Dec. 7.

There were no revisions mentioned for Group I oils at the time of writing, and prices for naphthenic base oils also remained unchanged.

Motiva had headed the paraffinic pack by marking down its 110- and 220-vis postings 10 cents/gal, and its 600-vis oil 13 cents/gal the first day of the month.

The movements were driven by plentiful supply of most grades, a need to lower inventories as the year comes to a close and sliding crude oil prices.

Sources said that some base oil buyers were bargain-hunting – as is usual at the end of the year – but producers generally seemed unwilling to grant significant discounts on the heavy grades, particularly as a number of posted prices have already been lowered. Suppliers explained that despite the decline in feedstock prices, margins remained poor.

It was also heard that Mexican and Brazilian lube blenders had been on the lookout for Group I and II price reductions, given recent production setbacks in their respective countries.

However, a number of cargoes of Group I and II heavy oils moved to Europe in the last few months, leaving less material available for shipments into Latin America, sources said.

Sources also remarked that it was surprising to see how Group II prices lost ground in recent weeks, to the extent that many cuts are now more affordable than their counterparts in the Group I segment.

Crude oil prices plunged to lows seen during the 2009 financial crisis below $40 per barrel on renewed concerns about an unchecked global supply glut, but steadied on Tuesday.

West Texas Intermediate closed on the CME/Nymex at $37.51 per barrel on Dec. 8, down $4.34 per bbl from its Dec. 1 settlement of $41.85.

Brent was trading around $40.26/bbl on the CME on Dec. 8, down $4.18/bbl from $44.44 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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