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Morgan Stanley Buys Forties; Aramco Raises March Crude Prices

Morgan Stanley bought a cargo of North Sea Forties crude at the highest price in a month. Gunvor Group Ltd. sought to buy Russian Urals in the Mediterranean without success.

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Saudi Aramco, raised differentials used in determining its official selling prices for all grades to customers in Northwest Europe and the Mediterranean for loading in March.

North Sea

Morgan Stanley bought a cargo of Forties for loading on Feb. 17 to Feb. 19 from Statoil ASA at 45 cents a barrel more than Dated Brent, the most since Jan. 4, compared with a premium of 15 cents for a trade on Feb. 3, according to a Bloomberg survey of traders monitoring the Platts trading window.

Total SA failed to buy Forties for Feb. 19 to Feb. 24 at 30 cents a barrel more than Dated Brent, the survey showed.

Reported North Sea trading typically occurs during the Platts window, which ends at 4:30 p.m. London time. Before the session, Forties loading in 10 to 25 days was 16 cents a barrel more than Dated Brent, down from a premium of 25 cents on Feb. 3, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Brent for March settlement traded at $115.79 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange at the close of the window, up from $112.90 yesterday. The April contract was at $115.49, a discount of 30 cents to March.

Two cargoes of Forties for loading this month were delayed by two to three days, three people with knowledge of the export program said.

The shipment with parcel number F0208 will be deferred for the second time by an extra three days to Feb. 14 to Feb. 16, from the original Feb. 8 to Feb. 10, while lot F0213 was delayed by two days to Feb. 17 to Feb. 19, the people said, declining to be identified because the information is confidential. So far five February cargoes have been deferred by one to six days.

Exports of Grane grade for March will be unchanged from this month at seven cargoes of 600,000 barrels each, according to a loading program obtained by Bloomberg News.


Gunvor failed to buy 80,000 metric tons of Urals for Feb. 27 to March 2 delivery to Augusta, Italy at 5 cents a barrel less than Dated Brent, the survey showed. On Feb. 3, Lukoil bought a cargo from Vitol at parity to the benchmark.

No bids or offers were made for Urals in northwest Europe. On Feb. 3, Lukoil sold 100,000 tons for delivery to Rotterdam to Exxon Mobil Corp. at parity to Dated Brent.

Saudi Aramco raised the price for Arab Light to northwest Europe by 90 cents to a discount of 85 cents a barrel to the Brent weighted average posted by Intercontinental Exchange, and the price for the grade to the Mediterranean was increased to $1.10 less than the benchmark, $1.10 more than February, according to the statement.

“It is not surprising that prices for the Mediterranean were set higher than those for northwest Europe, given that Italy, Spain and Greece account for some 450,000 barrels a day of the 600,000 barrels a day Iranian crude imports into the EU and would likely need to turn to Saudi barrels in the event of any abrupt cut to Iranian exports to the EU,” JBC Energy GmbH, a Vienna-based consultant said in an e-mailed report.

Crude exports from northern Iraq through the Turkish port of Ceyhan resumed after a three-day halt caused by sabotage to the pipeline network in Turkey, an official from Iraq’s North Oil Co. said.

Exports began today at a rate of 400,000 barrels to 500,000 barrels a day, Ziad Ahmad al-Obaidi, an official from the state-run company’s production unit, said in an e-mailed statement.

West Africa

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, the main armed group in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern region, attacked and damaged a pipeline belonging to a unit of Eni SpA.

The link carries crude to an export terminal in the coastal town of Brass, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) southwest of the oil-industry hub of Port Harcourt, Jomo Gbomo, spokesman for the group also known as MEND, said in an e-mailed statement.

Eni lost “around 4,000” barrels a day of “equity production” from the incident, the Rome-based company said in an e-mailed statement yesterday confirming the attack.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc said rising crude thefts along its Nembe Creek Trunkline in Nigeria threaten daily exports amounting to 140,000 barrels.

Qua Iboe crude was at $2.61 a barrel more than Dated Brent, compared with a premium of $2.63 on Feb. 3, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

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