Base Oil Price Report

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U.S. paraffinic base oil suppliers this past week completed their first round of price hikes in nearly four months. Their margins received little benefit, however, as crude oil costs continued to climb.

Calumet, ChevronTexaco and Sunoco all announced increases ranging from 6 to 9 cents per gallon, consistent with markups announced previously by other principal suppliers. Calumet on Friday added 6 cents and 7 cents, respectively to its Group I 325 and 700 neutrals, 8 cents to its bright stock, 6 cents to its Group II 60 neutral and 7 cents to its Group II 100 and 150 neutrals.

Group I supplier Sunoco on Monday raised its postings for 70 neutral and bright stock by 8 cents, its 150 and 500 neutrals by 7 cents and its neutrals in the 200-300 range by 6 cents, according to a source. Group II supplier ChevronTexaco added 7 cents to its 100 and 600 neutrals and 9 cents to its 220 neutral.

Before this round of increases, paraffinic prices had not changed since the second half of October. Market observers have expressed varying opinions about the likelihood of more markups in the near future. On the one hand, suppliers would like to recover some of what theyve lost on margins during the past two month – indeed, of what they continue to lose. Crude oil costs have continued to climb, with the price on the New York Mercantile Exchange rising 16 cents yesterday to close at $36.96 per gallon.

On the other hand, the lubricants industry is still in its winter lull, and base oil demand normally does not begin to pick up until early spring.

Editors note: Beginning this week, the price chart lists posted prices in dollars per metric ton, as well as dollars per gallon. The change was made after requests from international readers, who noted that base oil transactions outside the United States are generally based on price per metric ton. As always, we welcome feedback on this and other matters.

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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