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INSIGHT Base Oil Report Europe


It is challenging environment for European refiners to demand domestic Group I price increases. Healthy supply of lighter base oils is seen, with lower price ideas noted from both continental and UK business. Brightstock remains in tight supply amid a strong export market.


Group II prices are pinned between opposing forces: a well-supplied European market on one hand with multiple offers seen for 200/220 equivalent material, and increases in the US market on the back of stronger feedstock costs. Availability of 600N equivalent is tighter with fewer suppliers heard offering this grade.


Group III price ideas are within a wider range as a glut of non-approved 4cSt material comes at the same time as pressure is exerted from OEM-approved material to move upwards on higher feedstock costs. 6cst product is said to be trading at a premium of varying levels to 4cSt as tighter or more balanced availability of 6cSt is seen.


US


US Group I/II prices firmed as posted prices increased earlier in the month because of higher upstream costs. Posted prices stabilised at the end of October, with implementation at various levels taking place in the domestic market spreads.


Group III prices are slowly leaning toward more stability, although wide ranges are still discussed within the market.


Crude oil prices have moved lower but diesel prices remain strong, encouraging more oil to be utilised for the fuel markets.


Asia


SN500 numbers in Asia have been dropping as some Group I refiners continue to run at full capacity. This could restrict suppliers’ attempts to increase prices.


Some Group II refiners cutting their base oils production by 10-20% since October because of robust crude oil prices. Group II availability from NE Asia has tightened significantly, slowing the plunge in prices seen earlier in August and September.


GIII suppliers have been looking for increases but these have been met with a lukewarm response from buyers.


LUBE MAGAZINE NO.148 DECEMBER 2018 63


LINK www.icis.com


Sarah Trinder, Senior Editor, Manager ICIS


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