Base Oil Price Report


Two shipments of bright stock from Petrobras hit U.S. shores during the past two months – a development that might sound like good news to a market that has been strained for supply.

But an industry source warned that the shipments were a one-time anomaly and that U.S. buyers should not count on any more deliveries from Brazil for the foreseeable future.

Bright stock supply in the U.S. has been exceptionally tight for more than a year, and for nearly that long some buyers have been hoping that Petrobras would offer relief. The Brazilian oil company previously exported bright stock to the United States, until last year when a maintenance turnaround and operational problems curtailed its production.

According to sources, one cargo from Petrobras was imported to Brownsville, Texas, in May and a second in June. However, a trading company that claimed to receive both shipments said they were sent to complete a 2004 contract that Petrobras had been unable to fulfill because of its operational issues last year. Petrobras officials could not be reached for comment yesterday afternoon.

This was strictly a one-time event, said the trader, who asked not to be identified. The contract is fulfilled now, and we dont expect to see any more bright stock from Petrobras.

The two cargoes totaled approximately 10,000 metric tons, said the trader, who contended that was too little to affect the bright stock shortage in the United States. He added that approximately half of the volume is bound for Mexico.

The trader also said he does not expect Petrobras to export any more bright stock to the United States at least for the rest of 2005.

Theyve got all the business they can handle in Brazil, he said. Theyre still trying to catch up from the problems they had last year.

The traders comments were consistent with previous statements from Petrobras. Earlier this year officials said the company might not resume exports to the United States because of strong demand elsewhere.

Posted prices for paraffinic base oils in the United States were unchanged this week. Sellers and buyers agreed, though, that upward pressure remains on prices because of high feedstock prices. Vacuum gas oil prices jumped again in recent weeks after maintaining high levels since March.

The price of crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed yesterday at $60.47 per barrel, 70 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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