Saudi Light-Heavy Spread at Year High; JX Buys ESPO: Asia Crude

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, increased the price difference between its light and heavy grades to buyers in Asia to the widest gap in a year.

The light-heavy spread for crude purchased in October rose to $3.75 a barrel, up $1 from September, the highest in 12 months, according to prices announced yesterday by Saudi Arabian Oil Co. The producer raised Arab Light differentials by 60 cents to $1.85 a barrel above benchmark Oman and Dubai, while lowering Arab Heavy by 40 cents to a discount of $1.90 a barrel below the marker grades.

JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. bought a cargo of East Siberia-Pacific Ocean crude loading Oct. 27 to Oct. 30 from OAO Rosneft at a premium as high as $4.50 a barrel, according to three people who participate in the market, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential.

The Japanese refiner has purchased at least four shipments of the Russian grade for loading next month. The company bought one for Oct. 10 to Oct. 14 from Mitsubishi Corp. at about $4.50 a barrel above benchmark Dubai prices, two people said yesterday.

The company also bought an Oct. 6 to Oct. 7 ESPO from TNK-BP, two people familiar with the deal said. A fourth, loading Oct. 24 to Oct. 27, was purchased at a premium of about $4.50 a barrel, one of the people said.

PT Pertamina, Indonesia’s state-owned oil company, purchased 600,000 barrels of Cossack crude for delivery in November to its refinery in Balikpapan, said an official who asked to remain unidentified, citing company policy.

The shipment is Pertamina’s third for November. The company bought 950,000 barrels of Libya’s El Sharara and another 600,000 barrels of Cossack for its Cilacap refinery, the official said.

Refining Margins

Profits from processing a barrel of benchmark Dubai crude into fuels such as diesel and gasoline priced in the regional trading hub of Singapore averaged $4.84 during the last five days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The 30-day average is $5.66.

Dubai crude’s backwardation, when near-term deliveries are more expensive than later supplies, rose 4 cents. Spot prices were $1.28 a barrel more than levels for cargoes two months later, according to PVM data.

The October Brent-Dubai exchange for swaps, which measures the European oil’s premium to the Mideast marker, fell 18 cents to $3.02 a barrel, according to PVM data. The November EFS lost 10 cents to $3.14.

Oman oil for November fell rose 46 cents to settle at $112.25 a barrel at 12:30 p.m. on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange.

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

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