Several major lubricant suppliers have imposed allocations, a large chunk of the nation’s base oil capacity remains offline and additive companies are reportedly struggling to obtain scarce raw materials. Observers say it adds up to the most trouble the industry has faced in memory and warn that – in some respects – it may not have hit bottom yet.
ExxonMobil and Shell both confirmed that they have imposed allocations on finished lubricants. In response to an inquiry from Lube Report, ExxonMobil said its allocation – effective Oct. 1 – is 100 percent on an aggregate basis, meaning customers generally cannot order more than their monthly average. It noted, however, that restrictions are tighter on some products. For example, Mobil 1 products have a cap of 65 percent of normal purchases, while some 5W grades of motor oil are limited to 60 percent.