U.S. Base Oil Price Report


Flint Hills Resources, Motiva and Calumet stepped out with 20 to 40 cent per gallon reductions this week for their API Group I, II and II+ paraffinic neutrals.

FHR alerted its customers that it lowered prices on all Group II grades by 20 cents/gal on Monday, Jan. 12.

Motiva plans to shift its Group II and II+ base oils postings down on Thursday, Jan. 15. Motiva will lower Star 3 and 4 (70 and 105 vis) by 40 cents/gal, reduce Star 6 (220 vis) by 30 cents/gal, and cut Star 12 (600 vis) by 20 cents/gal. In the Group II+ category, the posted price for Star 5+ will be chopped by 30 cents/gal.

Also on Thursday, Jan. 15, Calumet will drop its Group I and II light neutrals (70 through 325 vis) by 40 cents/gal, and chop its heavy grades, including 700 vis and bright stock, by 30 cents/gal.

Most players anticipate that the stage is now set for all remaining producers to follow suit with lower postings in the coming days.

On a spot basis, a few players said that some sellers recent offers hovered in the region of $2.40 to $2.50/gal delivered or around $2.15 to $2.35/gal FOB for light and mid vis solvent neutral Group I oils. Several other market participants suggested that Group II light vis grades were likely being offered in the same ballpark. Yet another few buyers indicated that a number of suppliers were willing to drop prices even lower.

Heavy neutrals and bright stock values are maintaining a higher number due to the better balanced inventories alongside steady demand seen in the market. Sources have confirmed trade concluded in the $3.50 to $3.80/gal FOB range for heavy neutrals (500 to 700 vis). Bright stock numbers have been reported in the $4.05 to $4.30/gal FOB area, depending on supplier.

Group III prices have remained firmer than Group I/II/II+ paraffinic grades. Buyers have placed recent values above the $4/gal FOB level ($4.15 to $4.25/gal), although some believe that these lofty numbers may not be sustained for much longer due to full tanks amid slowed demand for these premium grades. In contrast, sources have suggested that Group III in Europe is going for $2.75 to $2.80/gal FOB, perhaps lower in some cases.

In the naphthenic sector, spot values were holding steady around $1.90 to $3/gal FOB or around the $2.20 to $3.30/gal mark delivered. Light and mid vis grades were at the lower end with heavier pale oils garnering the higher prices, sources said.

At the close of the Tuesday, Jan. 13, NYMEX session, light sweet crude values ended at $37.78 per barrel, a drop of $10.80 from the week-earlier settlement at $48.58/bbl.

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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