Forties at 6-Month Low; No Plans to Revise EU-Korea Trade Accord

North Sea Forties crude differentials fell to the lowest in more than six months as Statoil ASA offered four cargoes without finding a buyer.

The European Union is not considering a revision of the oil part of a free-trade agreement with South Korea, according to a Brussels-based official, who asked not to be identified, citing policy.

North Sea

Statoil offered unsuccessfully Forties lot F0316 at a discount of 70 cents a barrel to Dated Brent for loading March 20 to March 22, a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window showed. That’s the lowest since a Sept. 5 trade at minus 75 cents.

The Norway-based company also failed to find a buyer for F0309 loading March 21 to March 23 at minus 30 cents, F0313 loading March 22 to March 24 at a 50-cent discount and F0320 for March 26 to March 28 at 15 cents less than Dated Brent, the survey showed.

Consignments F0313 and F0316 were advanced, while F0309 was deferred, according to four traders with knowledge of the matter, asking not to be identified as the information is confidential.

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 dropped to a discount of 47 cents to Dated Brent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with a discount of 30 cents in the previous session and is the lowest since June 27.

Brent for April settlement traded at $109.89 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London at the close of the window, compared with $109.84 in the previous session. The May contract was at $109.39, a discount of 50 cents to April.

All platforms in the Brent pipeline system, apart from Cormorant Alpha, are operating after a March 2 oil leak, according to an official at the system’s operator Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., or Taqa, who declined to be identified, citing company policy.

Exports of North Sea Foinaven crude will decline to two cargoes in April, from three this month, according to a loading program obtained by Bloomberg News.

Mediterranean/Urals

There were no bids or offers for Russian Urals crude in either northwest Europe or the Mediterranean, according to the Platts survey.

The Urals discount to Dated Brent in the Mediterranean narrowed by 3 cents to $2.35 a barrel, data compiled by Bloomberg show. In northwest Europe, the discount was at $2.75 a barrel, compared with $2.77 in the previous session.

West Africa

Benchmark Nigerian Qua Iboe blend fell by 2 cents to $3.42 a barrel more than Dated Brent, Bloomberg data show.

PT Pertamina, Indonesia’s state-owned oil company, issued a tender to buy low-sulfur crude for May delivery to its Balikpapan refinery, according to a company official. Offers are due March 13, the official said, asking not to be identified because of company policy.

BP Plc and Vitol Group sold one cargo each of Nigerian Qua Iboe and Brass River grades, respectively, for loading in April to Hindustan Petroleum Corp., said two traders who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential.

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