Base Oil Price Report


San Joaquin Refining Co. has been forced to halt deliveries of some naphthenic base stocks during a maintenance turnaround, contrary to the refiners plans heading into the turnaround. The Bakersfield, Calif., company says it ran short onlow-viscosity pale oils because of unscheduled downtime last month.

The plant, which has capacity to produce 7,500 barrels per day, shut down July 1 so employees could change out catalyst material and install a second hydrotreater. The company had told customers beforehand that it was building inventories ahead of time and did not expect the turnaround to affect deliveries.

Those plans were stymied, however, by a five-day shutdown in early June caused by problems with the existing hydrotreater. The company was unable to build a backlog oflighter base stocks – fractions that are hydrotreated. In fact, customers were told it was out of those products almost as soon as the shutdown began.

Hydrotreated stocks account for approximately 3,500 b/d of the plants capacity. San Joaquin said deliveries of heavier, solvent-refined cuts have not been affected.

Blenders that depended on San Joaquins heavier cuts may have ended up in an awkward predicament. The Bakersfield plant is the only remaining producer of naphthenics on the West Coast. One California blender reportedly resells naphthenics and another naphthenic refiner is said to bring product to the region by rail.

Beyond that, theres just nobody out here, said Mike Pearce, of W.S. Dodge Oil Co., in Maywood, Calif. He said deliveries to Dodge were canceled but that the company was fortunate to have had reserve stocks on hand. We were just lucky that we had this. Im sure there are others who just got caught short, and they didnt have a lot of options.

The silver lining about the unscheduled shutdown in June is that San Joaquin took advantage of the downtime to get an early start on some of the planned maintenance. As a result, officials said they hope to cut short the turnaround, which was scheduled to last 20 days. Once operations resume, the second hydrotreater is expected to raise capacity to 9,300 b/d.

Posted prices for paraffinic base oils were unchanged this week. The price of crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed yesterday at $39.67 per barrel, up 16 cents from a week earlier.

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

Related Topics

Base Oil Reports    Base Stocks    Market Topics    Other