Base Oil Price Report


Apparently it takes a hurricane to stop U.S. base oil prices from going up this year. Several paraffinic suppliers joined the latest round of price hikes this past week, but four Group II producers did not. Observers said some of the latter were probably preoccupied with Hurricane Rita.

On the naphthenic side of the market, Nynas announced that it is raising pale oil prices by 10 cents per gallon, effective Oct. 3. It is also adding 15 cents to transformer oil prices.

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Driven by rising costs for crude oil and feedstocks, the U.S. market has undergone a remarkable six full rounds of price hikes since late February. A seventh round seemed imminent last week when ExxonMobil, followed by Citgo, announced across-the-board increases of 10 cents per gallon.

Sunoco, Valero and SK hopped on board the past few days, adding a dime to posted prices for all products. Calumet raised its postings by 15 cents, noting that it had lagged behind other producers on the previous round of hikes.

There was no word of movement by Motiva, ConocoPhillips, Flint Hills Resources or Chevron, all Group II producers. Three of those producers sell stocks produced at plants that remain closed in the wake of Hurricane Rita. Motiva operates a 25,000-barrel-per-day plant at Port Arthur, Texas. ConocoPhillips and Flint Hills Resources are equal partners in Excel Paralubes, owner of a 21,900-b/d plant at Westlake, La.

Motiva and ConocoPhillips, managing partner of Excel Paralubes, said they were still assessing the situations at their plants and could not yet estimate when they will reopen. Market observers speculated that this made the posting of prices moot from their point of view, especially since shipping operations have also ceased.

Im sure their attention is focused on more immediate concerns, one marketer said. Theyre not making any oil right now anyway.

The price of crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed yesterday at$65.01 per barrel, according to Bloomberg. That was $2.29 lower than a week ago.

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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