Base Oil Price Report


The latest round of price increases continued this week to work its way through the paraffinic base oil market in the United States. Prices rose for most products except for Group II oils produced at the Excel Paralubes plant, which currently is not operating.

Meanwhile, supplies continued to tighten as buyers waited for repairs at Petro-Canadas Mississauga, Ontario, plant and the postponed startup of an expansion at Motivas plant in Port Arthur, Texas.

SK, Calumet, Sunoco and Valero all imposed across-the-board increases of 10 cents per gallon on Monday, matching hikes by ExxonMobil and Citgo last week. Chevron raised its postings by 12 cents to 15 cents yesterday, while Motiva said it will add between 10 cents and 16 cents to its prices on March 15. ConocoPhillips added an equal amount to its Group III oils that are imported from South Korea, effective last Friday, but did not change prices for its Group II oils produced at Excel Paralubes. Neither did Flint Hills Resources, its partner in the Westlake, La., joint venture.

ConocoPhillips and Flint Hills Resources both declared force majeure after a Feb. 1 fire closed the plant, which has capacity to make 21,900 barrels per day.ConocoPhillips had expected to run out of inventory by the end of last month. According to market sources, the joint venture has mentioned a target date of March 20 for restarting.

Petro-Canada has begun the process of restarting one of two production trains at its Mississauga plant, according to a lubricant blender. The train, which accounts for half of the plants 12,500-b/d capacity, was damaged by a Jan. 7 fire. The company was said to expect the process to take the rest of the week, meaning that oil could be flowing by early next week.

Motiva issued a statement yesterday saying its massive 15,000-b/d expansion at Port Arthur is also in start-up mode. At the start of this year the project was scheduled to come on line Feb. 1, but the timeline was pushed back several times in recent weeks.

The Motiva Port Arthur plant has dealt with the standard array of challenges associated with commissioning a new, high-pressure lube hydroprocessing facility, spokeswoman Darci Sinclair said. We have experienced several minor delays, which unfortunately have come at a time when the lubricants industry is dealing with numerous supply issues. Barring unforeseen problems, she added, the plant should begin shipping oil from the expansion shortly.

Crude oil prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed yesterday at $61.49 per barrel, according to Bloomberg. That was down 23 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.

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