U.S. Base Oil Price Report


Market attention centered on Motiva this week, as the producer increased prices for two of its base oil cuts, and on San Joaquin Refining, which lifted prices for its naphthenic oils.

The producer lifted postings for its API Group II STAR 4 grade (110 viscosity) and STAR 6 oil (220 vis) 15 cents per gallon, effective April 19, but the price of its STAR 12 grade (600 vis) remained unchanged.

A majority of paraffinic oil suppliers had moved up postings during the month of March, resulting in price hikes ranging from 12 to 20 cents/gal ; however, Motiva had not adjusted prices at that time.

On the naphthenic base oils front, San Joaquin will be raising its prices by 15 cents/gal to 25 cents/gal, depending on the product, customer and region, as of April 22.

Other pale oil producers also stepped out with increase initiatives in early April, which lifted values 15 to 20 cents/gal, depending on the viscosity. The heavier grades underwent steeper hikes.

The price movements were said to have been spurred by higher crude oil values and improving base stock demand, although activity has been slightly more subdued this week, possibly because numerous participants were away at the ILMA Management Forum held April 14-16 in Bermuda.

Upstream, West Texas Intermediate futures jumped by more than 3 percent on Tuesday following a workers strike in Kuwait. The strike cut oil output to 1.1 million barrels per day from 2.8 million in March, and overshadowed the weekend failure by oil producers to agree on an output freeze at a meeting in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday.

On Monday, crude prices had fallen more than 6 percent in overnight trading, as news emerged about the Doha meeting results.

WTI settled on the CME/Nymex at $41.08 per barrel on April 19, down $1.09 per bbl. from its April 12 settlement of $42.17 per bbl.

Light Louisiana Sweet wholesale spot prices closed at $41.29 per bbl. on April 18, compared with $42.24 per bbl. on April 4, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Brent was trading at $44.03 per bbl. on the CME on April 19, down 66 cents per bbl. from $44.69 per 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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