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Middle East Crude Premiums Fall on Low Margins; Price Increases

Middle East crude oil premiums for supplies sold to Asia fell as refiners faced declines in processing profits amid an increase in producer prices.

Lower Zakum, produced in Abu Dhabi, for loading in February fell 1 cent to a discount of 11 cents a barrel over its official selling price today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Qatar Marine dropped 1 cent to a premium of 2 cents above its official price.

Refiners are hesitant to purchase Lower Zakum after the processing profits for naphtha dropped today to a discount of $8.27 a barrel to the benchmark crude Dubai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. At the same time, they face higher costs for their feedstock. Lower Zakum yields about 23 percent of the fuel after basic processing, according to data from Energy Intelligence Group.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., the state-owned producer, raised its official selling price for November to $114 for Lower Zakum. That put the grade at a premium of $5 a barrel to benchmark Dubai, the most since May.

Oman crude for immediate loading rose 0.8 percent to $108.17 a barrel, Bloomberg data showed. Dubai climbed 0.8 percent at $107.12. Murban crude gained 85 cents to $112.50.

Oman futures for February delivery fell 3 cents to $107.82 a barrel on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange at 4:47 p.m. Singapore time with 1,948 contracts traded. The settlement price was 108.08 at 12:30 p.m. in Dubai.

The January Brent-Dubai exchange for swaps, which measures the European benchmark contract against the Persian Gulf grade, rose 18 cents to $3.05 a barrel, according to data from PVM. The exchange for swaps for February gained 14 cents to $3.27.

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