U.S. Base Oil Price Report


Unchanged fundamentals, together with the absence of market participants attending the ICIS-ELGI North American Industrial Lubricants Congress in Chicago, Illinois, resulted in a fairly quiet market scenario for U.S. base oils.

However, while conditions seemed to be generally calm on the surface, there were some elements creating small waves underneath, placing downward pressure on spot indications and feeding expectations among paraffinic base oil buyers.

Given the typical demand slowdown at the end of the summer, many players expected base stock prices to lose ground. This seems to be the case for spot business involving the light-and mid-viscosity grades, but the heavy-viscosity cuts – which were said to be in tight supply – seem to be the exception.

Suppliers were heard to have granted discounts on a number of spot transactions, and this, in turn, was said to have placed pressure on postings.

Nevertheless, no posted price movements were observed during the week, while steady – albeit not dazzling – demand offered support to current values.

On the naphthenic front, conditions were heard to be stable, with no price initiatives reported either.

Market players continued to keep an eye on crude oil prices, as strong fluctuations on that front would likely determine the course of base oil values moving forward.

Rising crude numbers could offset some of the downward pressure coming from the supply and demand side, sources explained, while falling prices would underscore that pressure.

Crude oil futures slipped on Tuesday after the International Energy Agency cut its crude forecast, predicting that supply would continue to outpace demand well into 2017.

The oil glut has been exacerbated by fracking technology in the U.S. and aggressive supply from OPEC members such as Saudi Arabia.

WTI futures on the CME/Nymex settled at $44.90 per barrel on Sep. 13, up 7 cents per bbl from the Sep. 6 settlement of $44.83 per bbl.

Light Louisiana Sweet wholesale spot prices closed at $48.03 per bbl on Sep. 13, up from $46.02 per bbl on Sep. 2, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Brent was trading at $47.10 per bbl on the CME on Sep. 13, down 16 cents per bbl from $47.26 per bbl on Sep. 6.

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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