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Forties Trades at Two-Year Low; Asia Boosts West African Crude

North Sea Forties crude dropped to the lowest in more than two years as Vitol Group sold two cargoes of the grade. There were no bids or offers for Russian Urals blend for a second day.

Refiners in Asia will increase imports of West African crude for loading in April as India boosted purchases of Nigerian grades to the most in 10 months while Japan bought a record amount.

North Sea

Vitol sold Forties to Total for loading from April 12 to April 14 at 90 cents a barrel less than Dated Brent, according to a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window. That compares with a trade yesterday at minus 65 cents to the benchmark and is the lowest since at least Jan. 31 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Total also bought crude for loading April 16 to April 18 from Vitol at a 70-cent discount, the survey showed.

Reported crude trading typically occurs during the Platts window, which ended at 12:30 p.m. London time, four hours earlier than usual because of the Easter holiday weekend in Europe. Forties loading in 10 to 25 days narrowed by 5 cents to a discount of 63 cents a barrel to Dated Brent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Brent for May settlement traded at $109.01 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London at the close of the window, compared with $109.29 in the previous session. The June contract was at $108.71, a discount of 30 cents to May.

One more Forties cargo for loading in April has been advanced, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. A total of 14 of the 21 cargoes for loading next month will now be shipped earlier than originally scheduled, they said, asking not to be identified as the information is confidential.

Mediterranean/Urals

There were no bids or offers for Russian Urals, the Platts survey showed.

The Urals discount to Dated Brent in the Mediterranean widened by 5 cents to $1.10 a barrel, data compiled by Bloomberg show. In northwest Europe, the discount was at $2.15 a barrel, compared with minus $2.08 in the previous session. That’s the widest since March 12.

West Africa

Benchmark Nigerian Qua Iboe blend rose by 3 cents to $3.25 a barrel more than Dated Brent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Asia bought 57 cargoes totaling 1.74 million barrels a day from Angola, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana and Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a survey of five traders and an analysis of loading plans obtained by Bloomberg News. That compares with 1.6 million in March and is the most since 1.8 million in January.

PT Pertamina Persero, Indonesia’s state-owned oil company, bought 1.9 million barrels of crude for June delivery to its Cilacap refinery, said a company official who asked not to be identified because the transaction is confidential.

The company will take 950,000 barrels of Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude and the same amount of Azeri Light oil from Azerbaijan, said the official.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Raj Rajendran at rrajendran4@bloomberg.net

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