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Base Oil Report


There was a time when the big fashion houses such as Dior and Chanel prescribed the style of clothes that individuals aspired to wear, and many lower-priced labels copied the trends set by these high-fashion brands.

The whole paradigm has changed as more of the high-end fashion labels look for inspiration in street style, or fashion that emerges from streetwear, urban neighborhoods, the mainstream music scene and the internet.

In a similar way, base oil trends used to be largely determined by the goals and capabilities of large refiners, but smaller producers have recently gained attention and are starting to influence industry movements and pricing.

Base oil cuts that had come to be regarded as old-fashioned and had fallen slightly into disfavor are now regaining popularity, and are actually maintaining higher price levels than some of their more novel counterparts.

For example, production of API Group I cuts is slowly being phased out globally, and refiners are keen to invest in production of more high-performance base stocks such as Group III grades and synthetics-the haute couture pieces within the present-day collection of base oils.

In the Group I tier, conventional bright stock reigns supreme, not easily replaced by other oils, and its price has been hovering at lofty levels because of tight availability.

Just like high-fashion houses currently look at street style for inspiration, a number of producers involved in the manufacture of more refined base stocks are looking to produce cuts with similar characteristics to the humble bright stock.

For example, once ExxonMobil starts production at its expanded facilities in Singapore in 2023, it will introduce a Group II cut that may be used in bright stock applications.

SK Lubricants Americas recently announced bulk availability in the United States of SK120 BS, a high purity, low pour point Group II bright stock that is suited for automotive gear oils and many process oil applications.

Ergon also produces both naphthenic and alternate bright stock at its plant in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

While these cuts may not seem to have a significant impact on the overall supply picture, they provide evidence that the industry continues to pay attention to consumer trends and needs.

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