Middle East Crude Rises as Alternative Supplies Gain in Price

Middle East crude oil for sale to Asia rose as demand from refiners climbed because alternative grades were more expensive.

Oman crude for immediate loading advanced 14 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $88.43 a barrel, the highest close since September 2008, according to Bloomberg data. Dubai for February also climbed 0.1 percent, to $88.18 a barrel. Abu Dhabi’s Murban price rose 0.1 percent to $89.56.

Asian refiners may seek more Middle East crude because it is cheaper relative to alternatives priced against the Brent benchmark. The Brent-Dubai exchange for swaps for January, or EFS, was unchanged at $3.40 a barrel, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd. That’s the most since October 2008.

The EFS is the price difference between Brent futures and Dubai swaps contracts and signifies Brent’s premium relative to the Middle East grade. The exchange for swaps for February widened 5 cents to $3.59, the most since November 2008.

Oman futures for February delivery climbed 37 cents to $88.71 a barrel on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange at 5:20 p.m. Singapore time, with 1,055 contracts traded. The settlement price was set at $88.58 at 12:30 p.m. Dubai time.