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Total Seeks More North Sea Forties; Lukoil Offers Urals Crude

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Total SA failed to buy more North Sea Forties crude for a fourth day even as it raised its bid to the highest level in two weeks. OAO Lukoil’s Litasco offered Russian Urals grade, without finding a buyer.

The Caspian Pipeline Consortium’s crude link that runs from northwest Kazakhstan to the Black Sea will reach full capacity by 2015, according to OAO Transneft.

North Sea

Total bid unsuccessfully at 80 cents a barrel above Dated Brent for Forties loading Feb. 5 to Feb. 7 and at plus 75 cents for a Feb. 9 to Feb. 11 cargo, a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window showed. That’s the highest since Jan. 10 and compares with purchases it made on Jan. 22 at premiums of 35 cents and 40 cents.

The Paris-based company chartered a replacement supertanker, the DS Crown, to haul Forties to South Korea after canceling its previous booking, according to shipbroker reports.

Reported crude trading typically occurs during the Platts window, which ends at 4:30 p.m. London time. Forties loading in 10 to 25 days rose 19 cents to 73 cents a barrel more than Dated Brent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Brent for March settlement traded at $113.57 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London at the close of the window, compared with $112.63 in the previous session. The April contract was at $112.45, a discount of $1.12 to March.

Mediterranean/Urals

Litasco offered 100,000 metric tons of Urals at a 90 cent discount to Dated Brent on a delivered basis to Rotterdam, the Platts survey showed. That’s the same price as a Jan. 21 trade. There were no bids or offers in the Mediterranean.

The Urals differential to Dated Brent in the Mediterranean widened by 2 cents a barrel to minus 11 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In northwest Europe, the discount shrank to 74 cents a barrel from 76 cents yesterday, the data showed. That’s the smallest spread since Nov. 6.

The CPC expansion is still dependent on whether fields being developed have started production, Mikhail Barkov, a vice-president at Russia’s state-owned pipeline operator, said today in Moscow. The link’s output is to be increased to 67 million tons annually, or 1.4 million barrels a day.

PKN Orlen SA is seeking to buy 100,000 tons of Urals via an informal closed tender, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Orlen plans to buy the blend from either Ust-Luga or Primorsk ports for loading on Feb. 7 to Feb. 11, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential.

West Africa

Benchmark Nigerian Qua Iboe blend fell 2 cents to $2.09 a barrel more than Dated Brent, Bloomberg data show. That’s the least since Dec. 4.

CPC Corp., a Taiwan state-run oil company, bought at least three cargoes of Angolan crude for loading in March, according to four traders with knowledge of the matter.

The refiner purchased at least two lots of Cabinda and one Nemba grade, the traders said, declining to be identified as the information is confidential. Each consignment is for 1 million barrels.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rupert Rowling in London at rrowling@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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