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August 28, 2018

Volume 3 Issue 2

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Slack Waxes in Demand in Europe

Slack wax from Russia and Uzbekistan is in high demand and selling for higher prices in Europe due to the holiday season in Poland and technical issues experienced by several major wax producers in Western Europe, an industry insider told Lube Report.

Rosneft’s refinery in Angarsk, Russia, and Uzbekneftegaz’s in Fergana, Uzbekistan both make slack wax that is sold to other parts of Europe.

“These products are well situated for [candles used in cemeteries] because of its low viscosity and low melting point properties,” said Denis Varaksin, director for base oils and slack waxes at the Berlin-based oil trader DYM Resources. ”Uzbekistan’s slack wax has a light color and a low melting point, which makes it a good source for candle production.”

He added that Russian slack wax supply is also tighter now due to maintenance scheduled for September or October at the Angarsk refinery. The refinery features a 250,000 tons per year Group I base oils plant that can produce light-grade slack wax.

DYM Resources found that in Europe slack wax demand surged due to the holiday season in Poland, where candle manufacturers are preparing for the Nov. 1 celebration of the All Saints holiday. The slack waxes market price increase in Europe is also driven by the technical issues experienced by some major producers in West Europe.

ExxonMobil’s Port-Jerome refinery is struggling to stabilize production after spring maintenance, according to an industry insider who asked not to be identified.

An ExxonMobil representative confirmed that production of one of four grades of wax produced at Port-Jerome is down “a little bit” but added that production of the other grades is either at normal or increased levels.

Light waxes are expected to remain in high demand in Europe through August and September. “The production season for [candles used in cemeteries] has not yet started because of the heat, but it will be in full power in September and October, so factories are building stocks in preparation for the season,” according to DYM.

Uzbekneftegaz’s refinery in Fergana features a 450,000 t/y Group I base oil plant. Currently it can produce about 900 tons per month of slack wax, as well as 100 tons monthly of paraffin T1 and petrolatum (heavy slack wax), according to DYM.

Rosneft’s Angarsk refinery can produce 120,000 t/y of slack wax, paraffin, petrolatum and other extracts, according to the company.