Trafigura Buys Second Forties Lot; Buzzard Oil Field to Restart

Trafigura Beheer BV bought a second cargo of North Sea Forties crude in as many days as the differential narrowed to the least in almost a week. Vitol Group sold Russian Urals grade at the smallest discount in more than eight months, in the Mediterranean.

Production at the Buzzard oil field will resume tomorrow after operations were halted yesterday, according to the platform’s operator Nexen Inc.

North Sea

Trafigura purchased Forties lot F0522 from Vitol Group for loading May 21 to May 23 at a discount of 35 cents a barrel to Dated Brent, a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window showed. That compares with yesterday’s deal between the two companies at minus 40 cents and is the highest price since April 24.

The cargo was advanced by seven days, making it the 10th Forties consignment for loading in May to be brought forward, including two into April, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified as the information is confidential.

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 narrowed by 1 cents to a discount of 35 cents a barrel to Dated Brent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Brent for June settlement traded at $102.14 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange at the close of the window, compared with $103.44 in the previous session. The July contract was at $101.79 at the same time today, a discount of 35 cents to June.

The proportion of Buzzard in Forties fell to 41 percent for the week to April 28, the lowest since March 17, BP Plc said today on its website. That’s just before an incident curtailed activity at the 160,300 barrel-a-day field.

“A release of steam from the Buzzard platform triggered the low-level gas alarm at 8:10 p.m. yesterday, so as a result the Buzzard field was shut in,” Karen Fordyce, an Aberdeen, Scotland-based spokeswoman for Nexen, said by phone today. “As the release has been identified, we are now working on a resolution and production is set to be restarted by tomorrow afternoon.”

Mediterranean/Urals

Vitol sold 80,000 metric tons of Urals for loading May 21 to May 25 to OAO Lukoil’s Litasco at 15 cents a barrel less than Dated Brent on a delivered basis to Augusta, Italy, the Platts survey showed. That compares with an April 19 trade at minus 40 and is the narrowest since Aug. 20, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Urals discount to Dated Brent in the Mediterranean shrank by 10 cents to 15 cents a barrel, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s the narrowest since Jan. 24. In northwest Europe, the discount was at 68 cents a barrel compared with $1.07 at the close of the previous session. That’s the smallest since Nov. 6, the data show.

OAO Surgutneftegas sold three Urals cargoes for loading in the Baltic region in May to Talmay Trading via tender, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential.

West Africa

Benchmark Nigerian Qua Iboe blend rose 14 cents to $3.45 a barrel more than Dated Brent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s the most since April 10.

Refiners in Asia will increase imports of West African crude for loading in May to the highest in four months as India boosted purchases of Nigerian grades to the most in 11 months.

Asia bought 58 cargoes totaling 1.743 million barrels a day from Angola, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana and Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a survey of seven traders and an analysis of loading plans obtained by Bloomberg News. That compares with 1.737 million in April and is the most since January exports of 1.802 million.

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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