Glencore, Shell Fail to Buy Forties Crude; Gunvor Seeks Urals

Glencore Xstrata Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Mercuria Energy Trading SA failed to buy North Sea Forties crude at a higher price. Gunvor Group Ltd. didn’t manage to find sellers for Russian Urals crude at a smaller discount to Dated Brent.

Shell, BP Plc and Statoil ASA, three of Europe’s biggest oil explorers, are among the companies being questioned by European antitrust regulators about potential price manipulation in oil and biofuels markets.

The companies and Platts, a unit of McGraw Hill Financial Inc., said they’re being investigated after the European Commission conducted raids in three countries to ferret out evidence of collusion.

North Sea

Three bids were made for Forties at 25 cents a barrel more than Dated Brent, up from a premium of 15 cents for a deal yesterday, according to a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window. The first bid was from Shell for June 4 to June 7, the second from Mercuria for June 8 to June 11 and last from Glencore for June 1 to June 3.

Mercuria also failed to buy Forties for May 25 to May 27 at parity to Dated Brent, while Glencore was unable to buy the grade for June 7 to June 10 at a premium of 15 cents, the survey showed.

Mercuria didn’t manage to buy Ekofisk for June 2 to June 4 at $1.15 a barrel more than Dated Brent, and Vitol Group failed to buy Oseberg for June 7 to June 9 at the same premium, according to the survey.

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 by 15 cents to a premium of 4 cents a barrel to Dated Brent.

Brent for June settlement traded at $101.62 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange at the close of the window, compared with $102.78 yesterday. The July contract was at $101.32 at the same time today, a discount of 30 cents to June.

Daily exports of the 12 main grades of North Sea crude for loading in June will decline to the lowest in nine months, according to loading programs obtained by Bloomberg News.

Exports of Brent, Forties, Oseberg, Ekofisk, Statfjord, Gullfaks, Alvheim, Aasgard, DUC, Flotta, Grane and Troll blends will total 52.85 million barrels, or about 1.76 million barrels a day, the least since September. That compares with a revised 1.90 million this month.

No cargoes of Flotta crude will be exported in June, according to a shipping schedule. This compares with one shipment of 650,000 barrels for May.

Mediterranean/Urals

Gunvor failed to buy 100,000 metric tons of Urals for May 30 to June 3 loading at 80 cents a barrel less than Dated Brent on a delivered basis to Rotterdam, the survey showed.

Urals in the Mediterranean was unchanged at a discount of 10 cents a barrel to Dated Brent, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. In northwest Europe, the discount was stable at 85 cents a barrel less than the benchmark.

Russia will ship seven cargoes of Urals crude from Primorsk and four consignments from Ust-Luga on the Baltic Sea from May 31 to June 6, according to a loading program obtained by Bloomberg News. All shipments are 100,000 tons each.

Four lots of 80,000 tons each and one shipment of 140,000 tons of crude will load from Novorossiysk on the Black Sea from May 31 to June 5, the plan showed.

OAO Surgutneftegas issued a tender to sell two 100,000-ton cargoes a month for six months from Ust-Luga and Primorsk starting July 1, according to two people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential. The tender closes tomorrow.

Azerbaijan will export crude via the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline to the Black Sea until the end of the year, Socar President Rovnaq Abdullayev said today. Azerbaijan and Russia will hold talks on new terms for use of pipeline that could lead to continued exports next year.

It’s “no problem” if the two countries fail to reach an agreement as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, or BTC, line is operating at 70 percent of capacity, Abdullayev told reporters in Baku.

Iraqi crude oil shipments started on a test basis today after repairs to pipeline leading to Turkey’s port of Ceyhan, according to a statement by state-run North Oil Co. Exports are due to rise to 350,000 barrels a day within hours, the company said. Iraq halted crude exports via Turkey on May 13 after the pipeline was bombed in a second attack in a week.

West Africa

Benchmark Nigerian Qua Iboe blend fell by 10 cents to $3.17 a barrel more than Dated Brent, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sherry Su in London at lsu23@bloomberg.net

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

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