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Base Oil Report


Just like the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket soared into the skies in early February, so did most base oils on the back of two consecutive price initiatives.

In early January, a vast majority of paraffinic and naphthenic base oil producers implemented price increases, propelled they said by rising crude oil and feedstock values, a fairly snug supply scenario and steeper transportation and labor costs.

Motiva initiated the first round of posted price hikes and was followed by a majority of API Group I, II and III suppliers, resulting in most paraffinic base oil postings being lifted by 10 to 24 cents per gallon during the month of January.

Naphthenic producers also took the opportunity to recoup part of the lost margins by moving prices up 20 cents per gallon across the board.

This string of increases had barely been implemented when Chevron communicated a second initiative, this time calling for increases of 15 to 20 cents per gallon for its Group II oils, effective January 31.

Several Group II/II+ producers, including Excel Paralubes (the Phillips 66-Flint Hills Resources joint venture), Petro-Canada, Avista Oil, Kleen Performance Products, ExxonMobil and Motiva, followed suit and issued similar increases, which pushed up postings between 16 and 22 cents per gallon-depending on the grade and the supplier-and went into effect during the first half of February.

No fresh initiatives had been launched on the naphthenics side at the time of writing.

The base oil price hikes triggered increases for finished lubricants as well, with many major and independent manufacturers communicating markups to be implemented during February and March.

While crude oil futures lost steam in the first part of February, the sharp ascent of values during the previous months appeared to offer ample support to the base oil price increases. Demand softened slightly in the first two months of the year, but was expected to take off again once the spring lubricant manufacturing cycle gets underway this month, further underpinning strong market fundamentals.

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