LONDON (ICIS)--Export prices in the European base oil market have risen again because of tight supply, sources said on Tuesday.
Numerous refiners said they are now sold out of material for April loading, with one adding it is almost sold out of May material as well.
Supplies have become strained with production rates having been low in the Mediterranean for several months now and demand picking up in the past two weeks.
Furthermore, a maintenance programme in Russia affecting four refineries has contributed to the lack of overall availability in the region.
Most participants believe the upward trend will continue for some time, with a refiner saying it thinks the market will remain supported until around June.
However, a trader said it thinks the upward momentum could ease sooner than expected. It said most of the buying from others traders has been speculative and not backed by real demand. The price increase is expected to result in higher production outputs at refineries, which will increase supply. Further, the maintenance programme in Russian is scheduled to end in April.
Prices for SN500 are assessed at $1,005-1,040/tonne FOB (free on board) Europe, up $40/tonne. Brightstock is assessed at $1,135-1,170/tonne FOB Europe, up $40/tonne. SN150 price are assessed unchanged, at $945-970/tonne FOB Europe.