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Vitol Bids for Forties Crude; Statoil Offers Ekofisk, Oseberg

Vitol Group failed to buy a cargo of North Sea Forties crude at same differential for a second day. Statoil ASA didn’t find a buyer for January loading Ekofisk or Oseberg grades.

Vitol booked the first very large crude carrier this year to haul Forties to South Korea, according to Athens-based Optima Shipbrokers Ltd.

North Sea

Vitol bid without finding a seller for a Forties cargo loading Jan. 23 to Feb. 3 at $1.50 a barrel more than Dated Brent, a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window showed. That compares with a Jan. 21 to Jan. 23 shipment it bought at the same price on Jan. 4.

Statoil offered Oseberg lot 20130104 for loading from Jan. 22 to Jan. 24 at $1.70 more than Dated Brent, 10 cents less than yesterday, according to the survey.

The Norway-based producer also offered Ekofisk consignment C11318 for loading from Jan. 25 to Jan. 27 at $1.60 more than Dated Brent without finding a buyer while Vitol bid for a lot loading from Feb. 1 to Feb. 3 at plus $1.35, the survey showed.

Reported crude trading typically occurs during the Platts window, which ends at 4:30 p.m. London time. Forties loading in 10 to 25 days rose to $1.54 more than Dated Brent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That compares with a $1.49 premium in the previous session and is the most since March 9.

Brent for February settlement traded at $111.69 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London at the close of the window, compared with $111.24 in the previous session. The March contract was at $110.73, a discount of 96 cents to February.

Vitol chartered the Hanjin Ras Tanura supertanker to load about 275,000 metric tons of the grade on Jan. 25 from Hound Point in the U.K. at a cost of $5.95 million, according to a fixture report e-mailed by Optima. Hound Point is the loading terminal for the Forties blend of North Sea crude. The VLCC, operated by the Hanjin Shipping Co., is the first cargo bound for South Korea this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

A call to the Hanjin’s headquarters in Seoul outside of regular office hours wasn’t answered. A London-based Vitol official, who asked not to be identified because of policy, declined to comment by phone.

Vitol hired another VLCC, the Umm Al Aish, for loading in the first week of January that was later canceled, according to fixture lists from Optima.

BP Plc forecast the share of the Buzzard crude in the Forties blend to be at 37 percent this month, 40.1 percent for February, 39 percent in March and 39.6 percent in April, according to a statement on its website.

Mediterranean/Urals

There were no bids or offers for Russian Urals crude for a fourth day, according to the Platts survey.

The Urals differential to Dated Brent in the Mediterranean was at minus 80 cents, 5 cents narrower than yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In northwest Europe, the discount increased to $1.35 from $1.25 in the previous session, the data showed.

Iraq will ship 40 cargoes of Basrah Light crude from the Persian Gulf in January, according to a loading program obtained by Bloomberg News.

A total of about 64.6 million barrels, or 2.08 million barrels a day of the blend will be exported from the Basrah Oil Terminal, according to the plan. This compares with 2.35 million a day in the first half of December.

West Africa

Benchmark Nigerian Qua Iboe blend was unchanged at $2.38 a barrel more than Dated Brent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rupert Rowling in London at rrowling@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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