Mercuria Sells Forties Crude; Nigeria Oil Unions Defer Strike

Mercuria Energy Trading SA sold North Sea Forties crude at the lowest level in almost two months. There were no bids or offers for Russian Urals blend on the Platts pricing window.

Nigeria’s two main oil unions deferred plans to start an indefinite national strike on Jan. 1 until they meet with government officials to discuss proposals to privatize the nation’s four state-owned refineries.

North Sea

Mercuria sold Forties cargo F0111 for Jan. 14 to Jan 16 loading at a discount of 25 cents a barrel to Dated Brent, according to a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts window. That compares with the last trade at minus 20 cents on Dec. 24 between Vitol Group and Royal Dutch Shell Plc and a deal on Nov. 4 at minus 70 cents.

Mercuria withdrew two offers for Forties loading Jan. 18 to Jan. 20 and Jan. 26 to Jan. 28 at a premium of 15 cents to Dated Brent, the survey showed. Vitol didn’t manage to sell the grade at a discount of 15 cents.

There were no bids or offers for Brent, Ekofisk and Oseberg crudes.

Brent for February settlement traded at $110.84 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange at the close of the window, compared with $111.04 in the previous session. The March contract was at $110.57, a discount of 27 cents to February.

Urals/Mediterranean

PKN Orlen bought 100,000 metric tons of Urals crude for delivery to the Butinge terminal in Lithuania from Gunvor Group Ltd., according to two people with knowledge of the tender, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential. The tender closed yesterday.

Libya’s Messla oil field is producing 25,000 barrels a day, state-run National Oil Corp. said in a note on its website citing Salah Al Manfi, a member of the operations, refining and maintenance committee at Arabian Gulf Oil Co., the operator of Messla and Sarir oil fields.

The north African country’s Messla and Sarir fields are producing a combined 38,000 barrels a day, Manfi said in a note on NOC’s website. The country resumed pumping at Messla yesterday. The field has a production capacity of about 100,000 barrels a day, while Sarir can pump about 220,000 barrels.

West Africa

The manager-level Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, or Pengassan, with 15,000 members has scheduled talks with petroleum and labor ministry officials for Jan. 7, said its President Babatunde Ogun.

The blue-collar National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, or Nupeng, hasn’t set a date for discussions, though it will “engage” with government before deciding on strike action, Elijah Okougbo, secretary general for the union representing over 30,000 workers, said today by phone.

“If the government does not back down” Pengassan may call strike action which will start by halting the loading of crude cargoes and a gradual shutdown of oil and gas production, Ogun said by telephone today from Lagos, the commercial capital.

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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