Buzzard Field at Full Rates; Urals Remains at 16-Month High

Gunvor Group, Trafigura Beheer BV and Total SA failed to buy North Sea Forties, while OAO Lukoil was unable to buy Russian Urals crude in the Mediterranean at the highest differential to Dated Brent in 16 months.

Production at the Nexen Inc.-operated Buzzard field is back at full rates, pumping approximately 204,000 barrels a day after four days of reduced output, according to one person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential.

North Sea

Total failed to buy Forties for loading July 16 to July 23 at 25 cents a barrel more than Dated Brent, a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window showed.

Trafigura and Gunvor placed bids for Forties for loading July 24 to July 28 without attracting any sellers. Trafigura bid a premium of 15 cents a barrel and Gunvor bid 25 cents a barrel, 5 cents less than its bid for the same loading dates yesterday.

Total was also unable to buy Ekofisk for loading July 17 to July 24 at 95 cents a barrel more than Dated Brent, while Statoil ASA (STL) didn’t manage to sell an Ekofisk cargo loading July 23 to July 25 at a premium of $1.15 to Dated Brent.

There were no bids or offers for Brent and Oseberg crude.

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 was 31 cents more than Dated Brent, compared with a premium of 11 cents on July 1, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Brent for August settlement traded at $103.66 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange at the close of the window, compared with $103.07 in the previous session. The September contract was at $103.15 at the same time today, a discount of 51 cents to August.

Production at the North Sea Buzzard field has returned to full capacity. The field had been running at reduced levels of 150,000-170,000 barrels a day since June 28 due to valves being changed at some of the field’s wells, according to a person familiar with the matter.

A Nexen media official, Karen Fordyce in Aberdeen, Scotland, wasn’t immediately available for comment by phone and didn’t return a voice mail seeking comment.

The proportion of Buzzard crude in the Forties stream fell to 42% in the week ending June 30, down 1% from a week earlier, according to a statement on BP’s website.

Mediterranean/Urals

Lukoil failed to buy 80,000 metric tons of Urals for July 14 to July 18 loading at 55 cents a barrel more than Dated Brent on a delivered basis to Augusta, Italy, the survey showed. That is the highest bid since Feb. 9, 2012.

Urals in the Mediterranean rose by 33 cents to a premium of 38 cents a barrel to Dated Brent, the most since Aug. 17, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. In northwest Europe, the grade rose by 18 cents to 43 cents a barrel more than Dated Brent, the highest since Aug. 15.

Gunvor failed to buy a 600,000 barrel cargo of Azeri Light crude for loading July 28 to Aug. 1 at a premium of $3.25 a barrel to Dated Brent, the survey showed.

Russia boosted crude and condensate production by 2.1 percent in June from a year earlier to a post-Soviet era record of 10.53 million barrels a day, according to preliminary data sent by e-mail today from the Energy Ministry’s CDU-TEK unit.

West Africa

Total offered 950,000 barrels of Angolan Cabinda crude for loading on Aug. 2 to Aug. 3 at 20 cents a barrel more than Dated Brent, 10 cents less than its last offer on June 28, the survey showed.

Nigerian benchmark Qua Iboe rose 3 cents to $2.20 a barrel more than Dated Brent, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

China International United Petroleum & Chemical Co., known as Unipec, was said to have sold a cargo of Qua Iboe for loading August 14 to August 15 to Bharat Petroleum, according to two traders who participate in the market, who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential. Qua Iboe cargoes have been offered at premiums of about $2.70-$2.80/bbl to Dated Brent this month.

Eight out of 56 cargoes of Angolan crude remain available, according to three traders who participate in the market, who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential. The unsold cargoes are mainly Nemba and Cabinda crude grades, the traders said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Laura Hurst in London at lhurst3@bloomberg.net; 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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