Vitol Sells Russian Urals Crude; Buzzard Said to Shut in March

Vitol Group sold two cargoes of Russian Urals crude. Total SA bid unsuccessfully for North Sea Forties grade for a fifth day at a lower premium than yesterday.

The North Sea Buzzard oil field will shut for a week of scheduled maintenance in March, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

North Sea

Total sought to buy Forties at 65 cents a barrel more than Dated Brent for loading Feb. 9 to Feb. 11, a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window showed. That’s 10 cents lower than its equivalent bid yesterday and compares with purchases it made on Jan. 22 at premiums of 35 cents and 40 cents.

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 4 cents to 77 cents a barrel more than Dated Brent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s the most since Jan. 11.

Brent for March settlement traded at $113.04 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London at the close of the window, compared with $113.57 in the previous session. The April contract was at $111.94, a discount of $1.10 to March.

The Buzzard field will close for the first week of March, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential. Patti Lewis, a Calgary-based spokeswoman for the operator Nexen Inc., declined to comment when contacted by e-mail today.

Mediterranean/Urals

Vitol sold 100,000 metric tons of Urals for loading in February to Gunvor Group Ltd. at a 90 cent discount to Dated Brent on a delivered basis to Rotterdam, the Platts survey showed. That’s the same level as the Jan. 21 trade.

OAO Lukoil’s Litasco offered the same volume at a 80 cent discount to the benchmark, without finding a buyer, according to the survey.

In the Mediterranean, Royal Dutch Shell Plc bought 80,000 tons of Urals crude from Vitol at 40 cents less than Dated Brent on a delivered basis to Augusta, Italy, the survey showed. That’s the first deal in more than seven weeks and compares with a Dec. 13 trade at a 25 cent discount.

The Urals differential to Dated Brent in the Mediterranean widened by 9 cents a barrel to minus 20 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In northwest Europe, the discount increased to $1 a barrel from 74 cents yesterday, which was the smallest spread since Nov. 6, the data showed.

PKN Orlen SA, Poland’s largest oil company, bought 100,000 tons of Urals from Statoil ASA via an informal closed tender, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

Orlen purchased the blend for loading from either Ust-Luga or Primorsk ports on the Baltic Sea during Feb. 7 to Feb. 11, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential.

Russia plans to reduce crude exports from the Baltic and Black Sea in February, led by a 12 percent drop from Primorsk, a preliminary loading program obtained by Bloomberg shows.

A total of 4.3 million tons, or 1.13 million barrels a day, of Urals will be shipped from the port of Primorsk, according to the schedule. That compares with 1.28 million barrels a day in January.

Ust-Luga on the Baltic Sea will export 13 Urals lots of 100,000 tons each, or 340,000 barrels a day, down 10 percent from planned daily shipments this month. Novorossiysk will load a total of 2.76 million tons of crude, or 722,000 barrels a day, a 5.6 percent decrease from January.

West Africa

Benchmark Nigerian Qua Iboe blend fell 2 cents to $2.07 a barrel more than Dated Brent, Bloomberg data show. That’s the least since Dec. 4.

Indian Oil Corp., the nation’s largest refiner, issued a tender to buy crude for March loading, a document obtained by Bloomberg News shows.

The tender, which was released today, closes at 3 p.m. local time on Jan. 30 with offers valid until 5 p.m. the next day, according to the document.

The company previously bought 1 million barrels of Murban crude as well as four million barrels of West African grade for March loading.

The Republic of Congo is set to increase exports of Djeno crude in March to six lots, one more than next month, according to a loading program obtained by Bloomberg News.

Each consignment will be 920,000 barrels. No N’Kossa grade cargoes are set to be shipped in March, compared with two in February, a separate loading program showed.

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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