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Mideast Crude Rises as Brent Trades at 11-Week High Over Dubai

Brent crude rose to an 11-week high compared with Dubai oil, even as the Mideast benchmark gained.

Dubai crude’s backwardation, when the price for prompt delivery is greater than for later shipment, rose by 22 cents. Swaps for March were $2.01 cents a barrel more than May, the highest since Dec. 15, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a London-based broker. A wider backwardation implies stronger refiner demand for immediate oil.

The April Brent-Dubai exchange for swaps, which measures the European benchmark contract against the Middle East grade, rose 5 cents to $4.30 a barrel, the highest since Nov. 28 and the third day of increases, according to PVM data. The May contract was also up 5 cents, to $4.10.

Abu Dhabi’s Murban and Lower Zakum crude premiums rose to the highest levels in more than three months ahead of the announcement of official selling prices by Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter.

Murban increased 2 cents to 12 cents more than its official price, while Upper Lower Zakum rose 2 cents to a 7 cent premium. Both were the highest since Nov. 29, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., which exports both grades, is set to release official selling prices for February cargoes. It typically announces them in the first five days of the new month. Saudi Arabia will post its official differentials by March 5, setting the tone for fellow Middle East exporters Iraq, Iran and Kuwait.

PV Oil Co., Vietnam’s state-owned oil marketing company, offered to sell 200,000 barrels of Rong Doi condensate for April 21 to April 27 loading, according to three traders who participate in the market. Bids are due March 7.

No Dubai partial cargoes were sold today, according to a survey of traders who monitor the Platts pricing window.

Oman futures for April fell on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange settled at $120.53 at 12:30 p.m. in Dubai.

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