European base oil prices are likely to stay strong long-term and are expected to trend higher in the first half of 2017 based on higher feedstock costs, according to Argus Base Oils senior analyst Alvin Chew.
Chew delivered these insights at the UEIL Conference in Berlin in October.
In the fourth quarter, base oil prices are normally under pressure, but this year refinery maintenance in Europe and strong demand from Asia are bolstering prices.
From September to October, maintenance on base oil units at the Omsk and Angarsk refineries in Russia, Naftan refinery in Belarus, Lotos in Poland, Eni in Italy and Sepahan in Iran impacted supplies of Group I base oils to the market.
SN 500 prices look especially strong compared to SN 150, as there is more competition in light grades like 2 cSt and 4 cSt.
About 8.5 million tons per year of new base oil capacity came online between 2014 and 2016, mostly Group II and III, and only 2.85 million tons per year of Group I base oil units closed, according to Argus Base Oils numbers.
Overpriced Bright Stock in the EU
“European Bright Stock prices at the same time may decrease as they look overpriced,” Chew said. “The historical average price strength for Bright Stock is 1.67, while now it is 2.31. There is no fundamental support for such a strong premium.”
One of the key reasons to put pressure on European prices is U.S. export prices for Bright Stock and SN 500 are cheaper than European export prices. By the end of October, the SN 500 prices were discounted against the U.S. by $50 per ton, while the Bright Stock discount to the U.S. was $115 per tons, according to Argus Base Oils assessments.
DYM Resources supplies Group I base oils such as SN 150, SN 500 and Bright Stock from a number of locations globally. For inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com or online.
DYM Resources is headquartered in Berlin, Germany and trades base oils, slack waxes and petroleum coke along with other niche oil products.