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BP Buys North Sea Forties Oil From Shell, Halts Caspian Pipeline

BP Plc bought a cargo of North Sea Forties crude from Royal Dutch Shell Plc and halted a pipeline carrying oil from the Caspian Sea to Turkey.

BP said that it purchased the Dec. 18 to Dec. 20 shipment at a discount of 25 cents to the Dated Brent benchmark.

Reported North Sea market activity typically occurs during a trading window that ends daily at 4:30 p.m. in London. Prior to the window, Forties crude loading from 10 to 21 days in the future cost 9 cents less than Dated Brent, compared with a premium of 20 cents the previous day.

Brent crude for January settlement traded at $91.31 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange at the close of the window, down from $91.46 a barrel at the same time yesterday. The February contract traded at $91.44 a barrel. The price spread between the two nearest-term contracts widened to 13 cents from 5 cents yesterday.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline halted flows of crude to the port of Ceyhan on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, said Toby Odone, a spokesman for BP.

The stoppage is “believed to have been caused by” an “illegal tap” on the Turkish section of the link, Odone said today by phone from London, adding he “understands” exports are not affected. Odone said he didn’t know how long the halt would last.

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