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Base Oil Report


It is often difficult to have people agree on a specific issue, particularly when the group in question is made up of companies that manufacture similar products, but whose modus operandi is very independent.

When a number of base oil producers stepped out with price increases in early March, some said it was a positive sign for the industry that a majority of suppliers were getting on board with the same idea-although buyers were naturally not thrilled.

Ongoing and impending turnarounds at the Excel Paralubes API Group II plant in Westlake, Louisiana, in March, and Chevrons Group II unit in Pascagoula, Mississippi, in April, partly fueled the initiatives. In June, Motiva was also expected to take one of its three base oil trains off-line for maintenance.

While most producers decided to increase prices, the amounts and implementation dates varied greatly.

Motiva was the first to communicate increases of 10, 15 and 17 cents per gallon for its Group II grades, with an effective date of March 8. Within the same Group II tier, Phillips 66 raised postings 10, 15, 17 and 18 cents, depending on the cut, effective March 9.

Phillips 66 also increased its Group II+/III offerings, but with a different implementation date of March 8, when numbers moved up 17 and 23 cents. SKs Group II+/III postings went up 20 cents and 25 cents on March 15.

Sources indicated that ExxonMobil had implemented 12 and 15 cents per gallon price increases on its Group I, II and II+ cuts on March 9.

HollyFrontier and Paulsboro also lifted Group I prices by 12 and 15 cents on March 10 and March 14, respectively.

Flint Hills Resources and Chevron raised their Group II oils by 10 cents on March 10 and March 15, while Calumet increased its Group I and II oils by 15 cents across the board on March 13.

Kleen Performance and Avista Oil both implemented 15-cent and 20-cent increases.

On the naphthenics front, Calumet and Cross Oil stepped out with 15-cent increases for all of their pale oils.

While circumstances and goals may have differed, it was encouraging to observe how a shared need could lead distinct entities to move in the same direction.

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