U.S. base oil posted prices held firm this week following two months of across-the-board increases, with supply and demand remaining balanced.
ConocoPhillips, meanwhile, completed its spinoff of Phillips 66 as an independent downstream company, effective May 1. For a closer look at the ConocoPhillips spinoff, please see the full story in this issue of Lube Report.
Paraffinic and naphthenic producers mostly agree that inventory positions are generally in “good shape,” noting that some grades may be tighter than others, but overall stocks are finely balanced. Consumers report receiving contractual volumes, but generally agree that finding additional quantities for certain cuts can prove a challenge.
Base oils activity has largely flattened out in the past week or two, according to sources. They added that this is not necessarily disappointing nor does it mean that the market has gone into hibernation as demand remains on target. But many players are eagerly anticipating that buying interest will resume at a more robust pace, similar to that seen between mid-March through mid-April.
At the close of yesterday’s CME/Nymex session, front month light sweet crude oil futures at $106.16 per barrel, up $2.61/bbl from last week’s settlement at $103.55.
Brent crude was trading at $119.65 /bbl at the end of yesterday, gaining $1.52/bbl from its week-ago level of $118.13.
Light Louisiana Sweet (LLS) crude was trading at a premium of about $15/bbl to West Texas Intermediate (WTI) on Tuesday.