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Middle East Oil Premiums Little Changed as Refinery Profits Gain

Middle East oil premiums for grades sold to Asia were little changed amid speculation that higher processing profits will boost demand from refiners.

Qatar Land crude for January loading was at a discount of 3 cents a barrel below its official selling price, unchanged from Nov. 4, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Murban, produced in Abu Dhabi, remained at a premium of 11 cents to its official level, Bloomberg data showed.

Demand for crude may gain as refiners seek to benefit from a surge in processing profits. Gasoil’s premium to benchmark Dubai crude was at $19.15 a barrel today, up from $17.25 about a month ago, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a broker.

“Refiners were keen to make use of solid refinery margins leading to a pick up in crude buying,” JBC Energy GmbH said in its weekly Asia market report.

Oman crude for immediate loading rose $4.67, or 4.3 percent, to $112.31 a barrel, Bloomberg data showed. Dubai for loading in January climbed 4.4 percent to $111.75. Murban crude gained 4.2 percent to $116.45 a barrel.

Oman futures for January delivery rose $1.42 to $112.37 a barrel on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange at 5:56 p.m. Singapore time with 1,131 contracts traded. The settlement price was $112.10 at 12:30 p.m. in Dubai.

The December Brent-Dubai exchange for swaps, which measures the European marker contract against the Persian Gulf grade, widened 50 cents to $5.75 a barrel, according to data from PVM. The exchange for swaps for January climbed 41 cents to $5.09.

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