Unrefined oils in Europe: Analysis of the last six months

Unrefined oils play a key role in both the food and energy industries. Over the past six months, the market for these crude oils in Poland and Europe has experienced uncertainty mainly related to the war in Ukraine and dynamic changes in demand for biodiesel and other products. Production and availability of crude technical oils may be limited due to restrictions in countries exporting these raw materials. This could lead to increased imports of crude vegetable oils from other continents to meet demand in the European market

Prices on an upward wave

Prices for sunflower oil, one of the main unrefined oils, have risen sharply over the past six months due to the war in Ukraine. The country is a major producer of sunflower oil, and supply disruptions from Ukraine have caused significant shortages of the commodity in Europe, contributing to a dramatic increase in prices. Canola oil prices also jumped, but to a lesser extent, mainly due to increased demand for biodiesel.

Uncertainty in supply

A sharp reduction in sunflower oil supplies from Ukraine has been a major factor disrupting the market. Shortages of the commodity in Europe have triggered a flurry of price increases. Supplies of other vegetable oils, such as rapeseed and soybean, have remained mostly stable, although some countries have imposed export restrictions, putting pressure on prices.

Dynamic demand trends

The increase in demand for biodiesel has been noticeable in the last six months, partly due to rising oil prices and climate commitments. Biodiesel production from rapeseed and sunflower oil responded to this increase, which further affected the unrefined oil market. However, demand for other uses of crude oils, such as food and cosmetics production, has remained relatively stable.

Production and trade

Biodiesel production has grown rapidly, responding to growing demand for the product. At the same time, production of other unrefined oils, such as edible oils and lubricants, remained relatively stable. Trade in unrefined oils in Europe has declined, primarily due to export restrictions. At the same time, imports of these oils into Europe have increased to meet shortages, especially in the case of sunflower oil. Dynamic changes in raw material prices have a significant impact on the biodiesel and ester market, generating reactions in the segments of production, demand and raw materials used.


The increase in the price of unrefined oils, used in the production of biodiesel, directly translates into an increase in the cost of producing this biofuel. The increase in biodiesel prices of about 30% over the past six months reflects this trend. High biodiesel prices, in turn, are resulting in reduced demand, especially in the transportation sector, where the competitiveness of biodiesel compared to conventional fuels is becoming less.

To address this problem, biodiesel producers are increasingly turning to cheaper feedstocks such as animal fats and waste oils (UCO). This is an attempt to balance production costs and remain competitive in the market, however, it can lead to changes in product quality and features.


The increase in raw material prices adversely affects the production of esters, which are used, among other things. In the lubrication industry. The decline in ester production of about 10% in the last six months is a direct result of high raw material costs.

However, while ester production has declined, increased demand from the lubricant industry has partially offset the decline. The industry is not only continuing to use esters in its products, but is also looking for alternative sources of raw materials to meet its needs.

It is estimated that ester production will increase in the coming months if raw material prices fall. This is optimistic for the lubricant industry, which can expect greater availability and price stability for esters in the coming months.

The future of the unrefined oil market

The outlook for the unrefined oil market in the next six months brings with it a number of challenges and opportunities. High prices, mainly due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, and growing demand for biofuels such as biodiesel, will affect the stability of prices and supplies of raw materials.

Sunflower oil supplies from Ukraine are expected to remain limited, which could lead to further price increases. At the same time, biodiesel production may grow in response to strong demand as a result of both rising oil prices and climate targets.

Trade in unrefined oils in Europe may remain limited due to export restrictions imposed by some countries, which could lead to an increase in imports of unrefined oils to meet European market demand.

The value of the unrefined oil market in the coming months will depend on the dynamic interaction between supply, demand, raw material prices and trading conditions. In this uncertain situation, flexibility and adaptability will become key factors for companies operating in this sector.