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Petronas Cuts Tapis Factor as Oil Price Caps Annual Gain

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Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Petroliam Nasional Bhd., Malaysia’s state oil company, reduced a price adjustment for its flagship Tapis crude as the measure of regional demand capped a second annual gain.

Petronas, as the Kuala Lumpur-based company is known, set the so-called alpha at $7.50 a barrel for December, an official said today, asking not to be identified because of company policy. It was $7.60 in November.

The Tapis factor, used to reflect demand for low-sulfur or “sweet” crude in Asia, averaged $5.90 this year, up from $3.84 in 2010 and 59 cents in 2009, as refiners’ profit from making distillate fuels increased. Gasoil’s premium to Asian-marker Dubai crude, or the crack spread, averaged $18.95 a barrel so far this year, from $11.52 in 2010, according to PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a London-based broker.

Petronas includes the Tapis adjustment factor in its monthly calculations of official selling prices. The formula is tied to Brent produced in the North Sea, a benchmark crude for Europe, the Mediterranean and Africa.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yee Kai Pin in Singapore at kyee13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski at akwiatkowsk2@bloomberg.net

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