U.S. Base Oil Price Report


Nynas USA Inc. said that it plans to raise all naphthenic base oil prices next weekby 15 to 20 cents per gallon due to continued rising fuel and record-breaking crude values alongside strong demand. Naphthenic suppliers Ergon and Cross Oil also advised their customers of similar impending price hikes.

On Monday, Nynas told its customers that prices for light viscosity pale oils (40 to 100 viscosity) will be increased by 20 cents per gallon, mid grades (150 to 1200 vis) are slated to go up by 15 cents/gal and heavy naphthenics (greater than 1200 vis) will be lifted by 20 cents/gal, effective March 3. The company will also push up all its Technical White Oils by 35 cents/gal.

In addition to the price of pale oils moving up, Nynas said that it will hoist transportation costs by 2 cents per gallon for rail car shipments, while tank truck movements will increase between 2 to 7 cents per gallon.

Ergon said it plans to raise its 60 to 300 vis pale oils by 20 cents per gallon. Grades 500 to 750 will go up by 15 cents/gal, and 1200 to 2000 vis oils will increase20 cents/gal, effective March 7.

Cross Oil announced on Tuesday that it will adjust all naphthenic pale oils and process oils by 17 cents/gal, effective March 10, due to the steep rise in crude values.

Calumet is the only naphthenic producer that has not yet revealed a price move. The company said it will continue to assess market developments over the coming week before making a decision.

These price increase plans follow the San Joaquin Refining initiative reported last week, outlining a 15 cent across-the-board price increase effective today, Feb 27.

Houston, Texas-based Lyondell-Citgo Refinings naphthenic plant, with a capacity of 7,000 barrels per day, is presently undergoing a scheduled 10-day maintenance downtime. Nynas, which markets the output, said the plant should be restarted this weekend.

The paraffinic sector remains steady, and no fresh posted price announcements have surfaced so far this week, despite the recent run-up in crude values. Some market watchers surmised that as crude hovers around $100 per barrel, it would likely provoke large producers to step out with upward price moves. However, this has not been the case as of Tuesday.

Buyers indicated that fairly lackluster demand amid an ample supply backdrop could be the key barrier hindering an attempted upward posted price move. Buyers reiterated that Group II light vis neutrals are readily available and are being offered at attractive prices. Bright stock and heavy neutrals continue to be better balanced, according to sources.

Of related interest, vacuum gas oil (VGO) is gauged to be around the $2.64 to $2.68/gal range for low sulfur VGO, one refiner said. High sulfur values are pegged in a spread of $2.52 to $2.57/gal. These price assessments are based ona longstandingindustry formula or a premium to West Texas Intermediate crude. In either case, the VGO price is within a few cents.

On the shipping front, at least one transportation owner expects to see a surge in freight rates for oil shipments in coming months, while freight rates for hauling coal, iron ore and grains slump.

The reasoning behind this is a dispute between Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s biggest oil company, and Venezuela, which may dislocate tanker markets and cause freight rates to almost triple, said the transportation owner, who is also the founder of a closely heldAsian trading company.

Venezuela has threatened to halt crude oil exports to the U.S. in retaliation for legal action launched by Exxon Mobil against the country’s state oil company. Tanker rates, measured in the industry’s Worldscale standard, would more than double to 300 Worldscale points if exports to the U.S. stopped.

At the close of the Tuesday, Feb. 26 NYMEX session, front-month light sweet crude oil futures settled at $100.88 per barrel, a modest gain of 87 cents over the week earlier close at $100.01.

Carolyn L. Green, based in Houston, can be reached directly at carolynlgreen@gmail.com.

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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