After a short respite, record crude oil prices are back, and that is bad news for base oil buyers.
Crude prices rose above $50 per barrel for the first time yesterday, due to widening concerns about supply reliability, and analysts said prices may keep climbing. One naphthenic base oil supplier on Monday announced markups, and market observers said other sellers will probably do likewise.
Cross Oil said it will raise prices for all pale oils by 10 cents per gallon, effective Oct. 4. The Smackover, Ark., refiner has imposed three hikes – totaling 25 cents to 29 cents per gallon – since Aug. 5. There was no word of increases by any other naphthenic or paraffinic suppliers by the close of business yesterday, but sources said they expect hikes to be announced in coming days.
If in fact there has been an increase in the market, Im sure others will follow, a naphthenic marketer said. With crude jumping back up and supply as tight as it is, theres no question about it.
While naphthenics appear somewhat tighter than paraffinics, observers said the latter will probably rise, too, unless crude drops off immediately. Energy analysts said that is not likely to happen. Global consumption is running high, powered by robust economic growth in China, and the market is nervous about the potential for supply disruptions in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Russia.
This weeks spike in crude prices was blamed on threats that rebels battling for control of southern Nigeria could cause a halt to production in that oil-rich region. Nigeria is the worlds seventh-largest oil exporter.
The price of crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose to $50.20 per barrel yesterday before closing the day at $49.90, the Associated Press reported. A week earlier, the price was $46.86.
Historic U.S. posted base oil prices and WTI and Brent crude spot prices are available for purchase in Excel format.