Base Oil Price Report


News that Brazils national oil company has resumed normal operations at its largest base oil refinery has been welcomed by American buyers, some of whom expressed hopes that increased exports might ease a tight U.S. market.

But Petrobras told Lube Report yesterday that the plant is scheduled for more maintenance during the first quarter and that the company has not decided whether to ship more oil to the United States.

Petrobras Duque de Caxias Refinery in Rio de Janeiro is one of the largest base oil plants in Latin America, with capacity to produce approximately 11,200 barrels per day. Disruptions curtailed output this year, however. In the first half of the year, technical problems with a dewaxing unit ate into yields, mainly of bright stock. A maintenance turnaround for one of two lube trains lowered output in the second half.

The company says those problems are now resolved, and some U.S. base oil buyers have predicted recently that Petrobras may soon boost exports to the United States. But the company maintains it is too early to say whether that will happen. Officials say they have not yet decided whether to increase shipments beyond existing contractual obligations. Moreover, they note that the hydrofinishing unit for the company’s Rio de Janeiro plant is scheduled to shut down for maintenance from March 1 to March 25.

Posted prices for paraffinic base oils in the United States were unchanged this week. The price of crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed yesterday at $41.54 per barrel, $4.18 lower than 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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