Base Oil Price Report


Barge traffic on a 40-mile stretch of the Ohio River was halted this week, cutting off a conduit of transportation for lubricant blenders and numerous other industries from Pittsburgh to Parkersburg, W.Va. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said contractors are still struggling to remove barges from locks along the important waterway and that traffic may not resume for a week or more.

The problem has been caused by four barges that sank Jan. 6 in a high-water accident and which ended up blocking open gates in the Belleville Locks and Dam near Belleville, W.Va., approximately 200 miles downriver from Pittsburgh. With operators unable to close the gates, water levels have steadily fallen, leading the Army Corps to restrict traffic through the locks on Jan. 16 and to close them completely Sunday. The closure effectively halts barge traffic between mile markers 164 and 204.

Along with coal, chemicals, ores and other goods, the river is an important mode of transportation of base oils and lubricants moving between the Gulf of Mexico and plants as far away as Pittsburgh. Observers said it is not unusual for traffic to be briefly disrupted by barges sinking during times of high water. But the barges now sunk at Belleville are proving difficult to salvage, because of their location in the gates and because of extreme weather conditions.

Its been a big problem for a lot ofplants along the river, said Bill Denson, river traffic manager for Kirby Inland Marine, a tank and barge operator headquartered in Houston. Some of them can use truck or rail, but some cant, and even some that can have found it difficult or impossible to get the trucks or rail cars they need. A lot of plants have cut back or even shut down.

The Corps Huntington, W.Va., district said yesterday that three barges remain sunk and that it may beseven to 10 days before the locks can reopen.

Posted prices for paraffinic base oils in the United States were unchanged again this week. The price of crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed at $49.45 per barrel yesterday, up $1.20 in the past week.

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