Until recently, base oil supply was driven – logically – by lubricant demand. But that has now changed, Stephen B. Ames, managing director of SBA Consulting LLC in Pepper Pike, Ohio, told the recent ICIS World Base Oils Conference in London. Global finished lubricant demand over the past two decades has fluctuated in a relatively narrow range, from a bit over 37 million to just under 39 million tons per year. Demand forecasts through 2012 generally agree that the global market is growing, Ames said, although opinions differ about the rate of that growth. Additive and oil company forecasts average around 0.5 percent annual growth, while the pundits on average project 1.5 percent annual growth.