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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Asia-Pacific Crude-Mixed; condensate stronger

Asia-Pacific Crude-Mixed; condensate strongerSINGAPORE: The Asia-Pacific crude market was mixed on Thursday, weighed by lower Chinese appetite while strong naphtha cracks buoyed demand for condensate.

Spot differentials for condensate cargoes improved in line with strong naphtha cracks, even as Qatar would resume exports of low sulphur condensate (LSC) after maintenance.

ConocoPhillips sold a May-loading cargo of Bayu Undan to an unknown buyer at a discount of $ 1.70-$ 2 a barrel against dated Brent, traders said, about $ 1 a barrel higher than last month.

Differentials for Australia’s Northwest Shelf (NWS) improved by roughly the same margin, after Chevron sold its cargo loading April 30-May 4 to SK Energy at stronger than $ 1 a barrel below dated Brent, one trader said. Neither of the deals could be independently verified.

Russian Pacific grades came under pressure amid weaker appetite from Chinese refiners. Sakhalin Energy sold 730,000 barrels of Sakhalin Blend loading May 29-June 5 in a tender at $ 2.75 a barrel above Dubai quotes, traders said.

The company also sold three June-loading cargoes at about the same premium, and all four cargoes were sold to refiners in Japan and South Korea, according to a trader.

For the first time this year, Chinese buyers did not pick up any cargoes of Sakhalin Blend. Last month, Chinese firms bought three cargoes of the blend and had bought at least one cargo each month since the beginning of the year.

Last week, Surgutneftegaz sold two ESPO cargoes via tender at the lowest premiums since February, traders said. Statoil bought a cargo for April 30-May 5 loading at $ 1.90 a barrel above Dubai quotes and Shell bought a May 4-9 cargo at a premium of $ 2.50, they said.

Rosneft offered three cargoes of Sokol crude loading May 7-12, May 17-22 and May 20-25 in a tender that closes March 20 with bids valid until March 26.

Brent-Dubai Exchange of Futures for Swaps (EFS), or Brent’s premium to Dubai swaps, widened 10 cents to $ 1.40 a barrel.

MARKET NEWS

India is set to import 8 million barrels of Iraqi oil to fill its first strategic petroleum reserve (SPR), taking advantage of cheap prices and lending some support to a market suffering from oversupply.

OPEC’s second largest producer Iraq has notified its partners that it plans to start splitting its southern oil production into two grades and offer a heavier type of crude from May onwards, sources with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

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