The State of Base Oils at the End of 2020
Whilst it would be remiss to not mention the devastating effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on base oil markets, other landmark changes have continued through 2020 and altered the direction of the industry.
An interesting feature of today’s global base oil market, in addition to the changes themselves, is the rate at which markets have been adapting to new technological and production developments. These have come about for many reasons, but climate and environmental considerations have been the driving force behind many recent innovations in the lubricants industry. Perhaps this year has not been representative of the recent pace of change, since progress has slowed and activity muted due to the virus.
On a more positive note, for decades API Group I grades had been the workhorse base oils for most lubricant formulations, but in regions such as East Asia, the Middle East, North America and Europe, there has been a move to greater production of a new generation of base oils required to meet ever-tightening stringencies on emissions and performance of both automotive and industrial lubricants.