Base Oil Price Report


Spring is here, but the lubricant industry has been slow to emerge from its winter hibernation – much to the chagrin of base oil suppliers.

Base oil market sources say sales volumes have begun to increase since winter – typically the slowest season of the year – but not as much as normal.

Its picked up a bit, but not as much as it usually does and certainly not as much as we had hoped, a marketer said. Were still waiting and hoping that things will pick up at some point.

Base oil orders typically increase in March and April, as motor oil blenders increase output in preparation for the summer driving season. But sources say that demand remains generally weak, except for Group II-plus. There is little mystery about the cause: lubricant production has sagged, due to distress over the war in Iraq and uncertainty about the U.S. economic recovery.

February was horrible [for finished lubricant sales], a base oil purchaser said. March was better than February, and April is looking better than March, but its still down compared to this time last year.

Base oil buyers and sellers are hoping that a quick end to the war in Iraq will spur the economy, lubricant production and base oil demand included. If that happens, some noted, base oil suppliers could end up swamped with orders and find it logistically difficult to meet them. Still, those suppliers would surely prefer such a predicament to the current doldrums.

Paraffinic base oil posted prices were unchanged the past week.

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

Copyright 2003 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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