Base Oil Price Report


With its Lake Charles, La., refinery recovered from Hurricane Rita, Citgo said yesterday that it has rescinded a force majeure declaration for its base oil business. Meanwhile, other base oil producers continued efforts to revive plants that closed five weeks ago.

On the naphthenic side of the market, two suppliers reported price hikes.

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Citgos 9,500-barrel-per-day Group I plant was one of four paraffinic plants along the Gulf of Mexico coast that closedin advance ofRitas Sept. 24 strike. Early on the company declared force majeure, serving notice that it could not meet contractual obligations for base oils. Last week the plant had resumed production but was operating at less than full capacity.

Yesterday spokesman Fernando J. Garay said the force majeure declaration had been lifted, although the company had imposed allocations to control sales. Garay did not indicate the level of allocations.

There were reports of progress for two of the other three plants closed by Rita: the 21,900-b/d Excel Paralubes plant at Westlake, La.; and Motivas 25,000-b/d plant in Port Arthur, Texas. An industry source said both plants beganproducing again within the past week, though not yet at normal levels.Excel Paralubes is a 50-50 joint venture between ConocoPhillips and Flint Hills Resources, and ConocoPhillips the managing partner declined to comment on the facilitys status yesterday.

A spokesman for Motiva said he did not have information about the Port Arthur base oil plant specifically, but that some units within the refinery had restarted and that all operations were expected to be back to normal by the end of the week.

ExxonMobiloffered no update from last week, when it stated that it would not have all units operating at its Beaumont, Texas, refinery until early November. That refinery includes a Group I base oil plant with capacity of 12,500 b/d.

Calumet Lubricants confirmed that it raised prices on naphthenic base oils across the board by 10 cents per gallon, effective Oct. 19. San Joaquin Refining said it did not raise prices in October but will impose a Nov. 1 hike of 10 cents on base oils and aromatics and 20 cents on transformer oils.

Posted prices on paraffinic base oils were unchanged the past week. The price of crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed yesterday at $62.23 per barrel, Bloomberg reported, 59 cents lower than the previous week.

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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