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Base Oil Report


Times are a changin thats for sure. Not only are base oil prices at all-time highs, they seem likely to creep up substantially before the end of the year.

Many concerned participants in the U.S. market concur that what is happening is unprecedented. It used to be that base oil consumers might encounter a price hike once, twice or possibly three times a year, but now rounds of increases are commonplace, and are being pushed through about every three weeks.

The ever-rising value for crude oil is to blame for the regular climbs in base oil prices, sources lamented. Not only does the NYMEX crude price seem to reach new highs almost every week (or day), peaking at $127 per barrel mid-May, natural gas values have also cruised to almost $12 per million British thermal units, their highest since December 2005.

Most analysts will agree that the reason for energy prices running up – with crude oil nearly doubling in only a years time – is a need for a global catch-up. European prices have long been steeper than those in the United States, but that is all changing now as America enters a more level playing ground with the rest of the world.

According to a recent forecast from Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, crude oil may rise to between $150 and $200 per barrel within two years, as growth in supply fails to keep pace with demand from developing nations, including India, Dubai and China.

Meanwhile, U.S. base oil market players are keeping their chins up while trying to cope with the rapid pace of price changes. As a point of reference, since May 2007 the ExxonMobil Gulf Coast posted price for SN 100 has escalated by approximately 60 cents per gallon, while mid-vis SN 300 and bright stock prices have gained more than $1/gal.

Not only are customers paying a lot more for their required base stocks, demand has ticked up considerably, leaving scant paraffinic or naphthenic grades available for spot opportunities.

The dramatic changes unfolding in the market are enough to drive grown men into their mothers arms.

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