Base Oil Price Report


U.S. lubricant blenders may soon have another source for Group I stocks: the Italian oil company Agip Petroli S.p.A.

The companys subsidiary in the United States, American Agip Co.,said it is investigating opportunities to import from Italy. Agip is the refining and marketing division of Rome-based energy company Eni.

Were looking both at the possibility of importing on a regular basis, and on a spot basis, said Tara McManus, at American Agips office in Cabot, Pa. We would be selling in bulk, so our customers would have to have storage and the ability to receive tankers.

American Agip was formed in 1987 and currently has three lines of business: manufacture and marketing of lubricants, marketing and trading of MTBE and methanol, and trading of refined oil products. McManus said the company would import base oil for its own use and for sale to otherson the East or Gulf Coasts.

Finnish oil company Fortum, which markets Group III stocks, is thought by many to be the only European supplier to regularly import paraffinic base oils to the United States. Group I stocks from other suppliers make their way across the Atlantic at irregular intervals but usually through traders.

When taking place, arbitrage from Europe is viewed by some as an effective force in holding down U.S. base oil prices. McManus acknowledged that the price differential – prices in Europe are usually lower than in the United States – is too small at the moment to justify exports from Italy. Still, Agip believes the situation is temporary, and that opportunities to export will return again.

Wed like to develop more outlets, she said.

U.S. posted prices for paraffinic base oils were unchanged again this week. The price of crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed at $30.19 per barrel yesterday, 56 cents higher 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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