Global Lubricant Basestocks: Market Analysis and Opportunities

Kline’s February Index of Base Stock Production and Re-refining Cash Margins Reflects Improved Profitability Driven by Declining Crude Oil Prices

In January 2014, Kline & Company, a worldwide consulting and research firm serving needs of organizations in the lubricants and base stocks industry, introduced its monthly Base Stock Margin Index, a characterization of recent cash margin contributions in the U.S. base oil market over the past 24 months.

The Index estimates cash margin contributions associated with U.S. Group II base stock production. It simulates EBITDA before the deduction of corporate SG&A expenses for typical VGO-based virgin base stock plants and RFO-based re-refineries. 

“In January, crude oil prices fell to levels not seen since April 2009. Spot Brent crude hit a low of $45/Bbl in mid-January, but has since rebounded to around the $60 mark. As expected, commodity products followed suit. As evidenced by the currently high level of profitability shown in this month’s index, base oil prices have yet to fully correct themselves against crude oil prices,” noted Ian Moncrieff, Director of Kline’s Energy Practice. “Due to the dramatic and significant price collapse in commodity markets, base oil producers have benefitted from the inherent lag in posting adjustments. As noted in last month’s Margin Index release, lagged margins are significantly lower than instantaneous margins. We expect this anomaly to be progressively corrected as oil markets stabilize, and recover towards a new norm.”

For more information on the Kline Index, or to inquire about our pricing and margin analysis services to the base stocks industry, please contact Ian Moncrieff, Director (, at (973)-615-3680 in Kline’s Energy Practice.

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