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Forties Crude Loadings Rise in March Amid Swathe of Minor Delays

Seven cargoes of North Sea Forties crude were shunted further into the future by a few days each, reducing the number of February shipments by one, and increasing March’s tally by one, according to two people with direct knowledge of the schedule.

The revised schedule means that 19 Forties cargoes will load this month at the Hound Point terminal in Scotland and 21 in March, according to the people, who asked not to be identified. Nexen Inc., the operator of the 200,000 barrel-a-day Buzzard field, the biggest single contributor to the Forties blend, confirmed on Feb. 14 that it will shut the field in the first week of March for maintenance.

The timing and quantity of Forties cargoes are closely monitored by commodity traders because the grade is one of four that comprise the Dated Brent benchmark, and as the cheapest, Forties has historically been the one to set the price. The other three grades are Brent, Ekofisk and Oseberg.

As well as the delays, or deferrals, one March cargo, consignment F0316 was brought forward, or advanced to March 22-24 from March 24-26, the two people said today. The seven deferrals delayed each shipment by between one day and 10 days.

The original loading program for March shipments of Forties was released on Feb. 4.

Loading programs are monthly schedules of crude shipments compiled by field operators to allow buyers and sellers to plan their supply and trading activities.

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