Base Oil Price Report


Crude oil and base stock prices went their separate ways this past week, with crude dropping sharply while paraffinic base oil postings rose for the first time in three weeks.

ExxonMobil started the base oil price hikes late last week, adding 7 cents to its postings forGroup I 75 and 100 cuts and marking up all other products by 5 cents. Valero imposed an across-the-board 5-cent hike Monday.

Motiva and Conoco announced mark-ups similar to ExxonMobils effective today. Motiva raised its Group II 70 and 105 cuts by 7 cents and increased all other postings by 5 cents. Conoco, which markets Group II stocks, added 6 cents to its 70 and 80 cuts, 7 cents to its 110 cut and 5 cents to its 225 and 600.

Sunoco and Citgo have not yet announced changes. Information on ChevronTexaco postings was unavailable.

Crude, on the other hand, has been heading south. The price on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 61 cents yesterday to close at $25.27 per barrel, down more than $1 from a week earlier and more than $4 from two weeks ago.

Despite falling crude prices, industry sources said they do not expect a reversal in base oil prices. Several noted that base oil failed to keep pace when crude rose more than 30 percent during the first four months of the year.

I dont think its at all likely that [base oil] suppliers are going to turn around and cut prices, one marketer said. If anything, the drop in crude has reduced the likelihood of another increase in base oil. But this increase has been overdue.

Base oil margins are still down quite a bit from last year, another source said. Even with the drop in crude, this increase was expected. I think its hard for anyone to price base oils right now, with crude bouncing around as much as it is.

In the naphthenic base oil market, Ergon Inc. said its Vicksburg refinery resumed operations ahead of schedule after an April 30 fire. Officials initially projected it would take four or five weeks to repair the plant’s hydrocracker. In fact, the refinery, the largest U.S. source of naphthenics,restarted at full strength May 18.

Officials said the company is rebuilding inventories and expects to resume spot sales by the end of the week.

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

Copyright 2002 LNG Publishing Co., Inc. All rights reserved.
Tim Sullivan, Editor. Lube Report, Lubes’n’Greases Magazine and Lubricants Industry Sourcebook are published by LNG Publishing Co., Inc.

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