• 28.05

    EMEA Base Oil Price Report

    EMEA Base Oil Price Report

    Base oil markets throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa are in flux at the moment, with API Group I oils stabilizing while Group II and III continue to face downward pricing pressure.

    The API Group I market appears to be balancing after months of being oversupplied. Buyers are reacting by looking now for replacement and export stocks since they fear that prices may start to rise – a reaction that is creating additional demand though perhaps only temporarily. Producers, still suffering from poor margins, insist they are determined to limit further discounts – either by restricting production or refusing to sell at exceptionally low numbers. Group I offers are being accepted without counters.

    The Group II situation is different, with offers from major players still rocking the market within Europe where values have fallen fast. Availability is more than adequate, and the uptake of these oils is advancing now that the delta between them and Group I is much narrowed.

    Group III prices remain under pressure from suppliers defending market share – which were difficult enough to establish in the first place.

     

    Crude oil costs dipped over the past few days, and dated deliveries of Brent were at $69.20 per barrel for July settlement yesterday, down some $2.50 for the week. West Texas Intermediate crude slid to $58.45/bbl, also for July front month. ICE LS gas oil retreated to $615 per metric ton for June front month, around $30 lower than a week ago. These prices were obtained from ICE London trading late Monday.

    Europe

     

    Prices for Group I exports from Europe are unchanged this week and show no evidence of further erosion. Prices are stable although some offers contain higher numbers that have not been accepted. Solvent neutral 150 is priced between $550/t and $575/t, SN500 at $575/t-$600/t, and bright stock has flattened at $700/t-$740/t.

    These levels refer to large cargo-sized parcels of Group I sold on an FOB basis ex mainland European supply points, always subject to availability.

     

    Prices for Group I sales within Europe are also stable, with sellers aiming to move substantial volumes over the next month before the summer vacation season kicks in. There are rumors of some sellers offering fixed monthly prices for June, but at higher levels than most current ex tank spot prices.

    Availability of all Group I grades is reportedly good with few areas or regions experiencing shortfalls. With export demand starting to rise, pressure seems to be easing on suppliers to make concessions to regional buyers of smaller quantities.

    The differential between domestic and export pricing is maintained with the former €65/t-€90/t higher.

    As declared above, Group II prices are still coming under pressure and are reported lower than one week ago. Some suppliers suggested values may start to rise in June, but ample supplies of both light- and heavy-viscosity grades argues against it. More European blenders are showing interest in Group II, and it must only be a matter of time before the market takes up substantial quantities.

    Prices dropped again, with FCA levels for 100 neutral, 150N and 220N now at $730/t-$840/t (€645/t-€745) and 500N and 600N at $760/t-$880/t (€670/t-€780). Ranges are unusually wide at the moment due to a resurgence of low-priced imports..

    Group III prices dropped this week due to an abundance of offers and availability of grades with full slates of finished lubricant approvals as well as oils with only partial slates. Certain suppliers of fully approved Group IIIs continue to heavily discount in particular circumstances, perhaps looking to stave off any chance of losing sales to lower priced competitors. An announcement that Neste plans to increase production at its Porvoo, Finland, plant suggests supply could increase further.

    Prices for partly-approved Group III fell to €665/t-€710/t for 4 centiStoke grades and €675/t-€720/t for 6 and 8 cSt, basis FCA Northwestern Europe. Values for fully-approved grades decreased to €710/t-€840/t for 4 cSt, €800/t-€865/t for 6 cSt and €775/t-€835/t for 8 cSt, basis FCA Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam.

    The levels above do not include prices for material which can be delivered in larger bulk cargoes to major buyers or distributors. Prices for those trades may be around the lower ends of the ranges referring to FCA levels above.

    Baltic and Black Seas

    Activity in the Baltic remains subdued for a number of reasons, not least of which is that supplies are not so forthcoming ex Russian refineries as they were some months back due to maintenance and strong domestic demand. There are still the remnants of issues with crude supplies.

    Prices are depressed to the extent that purchasing CPT border can be too low for sellers to consider, leaving the Baltic market in limbo. However the Nigerian parcel recognized and identified over the past few weeks has now been confirmed, and a vessel will load this week with around 11,000 tons of product from a Baltic port.

    Prices are maintained $475/t-$500/t for SN150, $485/t-$520/t for SN500 and $700/t-$725/t for Polish bright stock, all on an FOB basis.

    Black Sea trade into Turkey from Russian suppliers has bounced back, possibly due to the extraordinarily low prices emanating from these sources, and this trade includes a couple of cargoes of 3,000 tons each moving into Marmara ports. The uncertainty and economic downturn continues to bear a heavy weight on base oil markets within Turkey, with local prices from Izmir refinery stabilized this week, and are maintained at previous levels.

    Mediterranean offers for Group I base oils CIF Marmara ports are heard at $565/t for SN150 and $580/t for quantities of SN500. Bright stock is also under offer and is indicated at $775/t CIF. One cargo has moved from Greek sources to Derince with prices close to those indicated, while another parcel of some 5,000 tons from the Mediterranean also programmed to be imported into Gebze, Turkey.

    Reports of STS activity at Kavkaz, Russia, describe another large cargo of around 10,000 tons likely to load in early June for the same receivers in the West Coast of India. Prices for these supplies are not confirmed, but offered prices CIF the West Coast of India were heard at around $545/t-$555/t for SN500. Indication prices i or SN900 were also heard at around $625/t.

    Group III supplies are also being contemplated from Russian sources in addition to United Arab Emirates and Mediterranean suppliers.