Total Raises Forties Crude Bid; Novorossiysk Resumes Loadings

Total SA failed to buy two North Sea Forties crude cargoes for loading in February even after raising its bid to the highest level in a week. There were no bids or offers for Urals grade.

Novorossiysk, Russia’s largest commercial port, resumed crude loadings last night after storms subsided, with both tanker berths in operation, according to OAO Transneft.

North Sea

Total bid unsuccessfully at 75 cents a barrel above Dated Brent for Forties loading Feb. 5 to Feb. 7 and at plus 70 cents for a Feb. 9 to Feb. 11 cargo, a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window showed. That’s the highest since Jan. 16 and compares with purchases it made yesterday at premiums of 35 cents and 40 cents.

The Paris-based company canceled the booking of a supertanker to haul the grade in February from Hound Point, according to a report from Norwegian shipbroker PF Bassoe AS.

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 2 cents to 54 cents a barrel more than Dated Brent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Brent for March settlement traded at $112.63 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London at the close of the window, compared with $112.04 in the previous session. The April contract was at $111.56, a discount of $1.07 to March.

A Suezmax, the Kaveri Spirit, was scheduled to load 130,000 tons of crude from Hound Point today, an e-mailed report from Athens-based Optima Shipbrokers Ltd. on Jan. 16 showed.

Mediterranean/Urals

There were no bids or offers for Urals, according to the Platts survey. There was an unsuccessful bid at 5 cents more than benchmark in the Mediterranean yesterday.

The Urals differential to Dated Brent in the Mediterranean narrowed by 18 cents a barrel to minus 9 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the least since Aug. 20. In northwest Europe, the discount shrank to 76 cents a barrel from 81 cents yesterday, the data showed. That’s the smallest spread since Nov. 6.

Novorossiysk has had loadings delayed since Jan. 15 due to winter storms, Transneft spokesman Igor Dyomin said by telephone from Moscow. Six tankers were waiting to load as of last night, he said. The Black Sea port will fulfill its January loading program if the weather doesn’t deteriorate, Dyomin said.

PKN Orlen SA reduced the amount of crude it buys via long- term contracts to rely on more favorable spot transactions, the company’s Chief Financial Officer said.

Supplies from such agreements were cut to 500,000 metric tons per month from 1 million tons after one accord expired, Slawomir Jedrzejczyk said today on a conference call. The change means that Orlen will now seek about 80 percent of its annual requirement from the spot market.

OAO Surgutneftegas sold via a tender to Repsol SA a cargo of Urals for loading in February, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The company sold 100,000 tons of the blend for loading from the Baltic port of Ust-Luga for Feb. 8 to Feb. 9, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential.

Bharat Petroleum Corp. bought Libyan El Sharara crude from Total via a tender, according to three traders who participate in the market. The refiner bought 1 million barrels to load in the first half of March, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential.

West Africa

Benchmark Nigerian Qua Iboe blend fell 2 cents to $2.11 a barrel more than Dated Brent, Bloomberg data show. That’s the least since Dec. 4.

Equatorial Guinea plans to export two cargoes of Aseng in March, the same amount as scheduled for next month, according to a preliminary loading program obtained by Bloomberg News.

The two March consignments will be 950,000 barrels each, compared with one 950,000-barrel lot and another of 600,000 barrels in February, the program shows.

The African nation will also ship three Zafiro cargoes and two of Ceiba in March, according to earlier schedules. Daily crude exports from the country are set to be 217,742 barrels compared with 264,286 barrels next month.

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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