Brent Premium Rises; Pertamina Buys More March Oil: Asia Crude

Brent oil’s premium to Middle East marker Dubai crude rose for a fifth day to highest level in more than two weeks.

The February Brent-Dubai exchange for swaps, which measures the European crude’s premium to Middle East oil, advanced 3 cents to $5.15 a barrel, the highest since Dec. 14, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a London-based broker. The March EFS lost 4 cents to $4.33.

West African crude priced against Brent becomes more expensive compared with Middle East oil priced relative to Dubai as the EFS widens, making shipments of the grades to Asia less attractive for refiners and traders.

PT Pertamina, Indonesia’s state-owned oil company, purchased 1.9 million barrels of West African crude for March delivery, said a company official.

The company bought two 950,000 barrel cargoes of Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude, said the official who asked not to be named because he isn’t authorized to speak to the media.

That was Pertamina’s second tender for March. It earlier bought 950,000 barrels each of Qua Iboe and Libya’s Amna crude, as well as 650,000 barrels of Azeri Light oil, the official said Dec. 21.

Petroliam Nasional Bhd., known as Petronas, set the official selling price of its Tapis Blend crude grade at $114.35 a barrel for December, up from $113.21 in November, the Malaysian state-owned company said in an e-mailed statement today.

Mideast Crude

Asia-Pacific refining margins, or the profit from processing Dubai crude into fuels such as diesel and gasoline priced in the regional oil-trading hub of Singapore, averaged $3.39 a barrel during the last five days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The 30-day average was $2.74.

Dubai crude’s backwardation, when near-term shipments cost more than future deliveries, rose 5 cents a barrel. Spot prices were $2.02 higher than cargoes for two months later, according to PVM data.

Abu Dhabi’s Murban and Upper Zakum were unchanged at discounts of 50 cents and 5 cents a barrel, respectively, to their official selling prices, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Qatar Land remained at 60 cents below its OSP while Qatar Marine was at a 13 cent premium.

Oman futures for March delivery settled $1.34 higher at $107.50 a barrel at 12:30 p.m. on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange.

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

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