Total Buys Three Forties Lots; Gabon Issues Crude Force Majeure

Total SA bought three cargoes of North Sea Forties crude as the price rebounded from its lowest in 11 months. The Paris-based company failed to buy Russian Urals grade and CPC Blend.

Gabon declared force majeure on exports of its Rabi and Mandji grades yesterday, according to the country’s Petroleum and Energy Minister.

North Sea

Total bought Forties lot F0318 from Royal Dutch Shell Plc at a discount of 60 cents a barrel to Dated Brent for loading March 28 to March 30, a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window showed.

The company also purchased F0401 from BP Plc at 65 cents less than the cash cost of Brent, Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk crudes in May and consignment F0315 from Trafigura Beheer BV at minus 55 cents to Dated Brent, according to the survey.

Those deals compare with yesterday’s trade at minus 75 cents to the benchmark, which was the lowest since April 19.

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 56 cents to Dated Brent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with a discount of 51 cents yesterday and is the lowest since June 22.

Brent for April settlement traded at $108.65 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London at the close of the window, compared with $109.81 in the previous session. The May contract was at $108.28, a discount of 37 cents to April.

Mediterranean/Urals

Statoil ASA failed to find a seller for Urals for a second day at $2.20 a barrel less than Dated Brent on a delivered basis to Rotterdam, according to the Platts survey. That’s 35 cents less than it’s offer yesterday, which was the smallest discount since Feb. 15.

Total bid for 80,000 metric tons at a discount of $2.10 to Dated Brent on a delivered basis to Augusta, Italy, the survey showed. That’s the highest since Feb. 20, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

BP offered CPC Blend at minus 40 cents to the benchmark without finding a buyer while Total bid for the grade at minus 85 cents, without finding a seller, the survey showed.

The Urals discount to Dated Brent in the Mediterranean widened by 5 cents to $2.45 a barrel, data compiled by Bloomberg show. In northwest Europe, the discount was at $1.84 a barrel, compared with $2.38 in the previous session. That’s the narrowest since Feb. 20.

Bharat Petroleum Corp. bought 1 million barrels of Libyan El Sharara crude for loading in April from Total, said three traders who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential.

The Indian refiner paid about $1.85 a barrel more than Dated Brent for the cargo, two of the traders said.

West Africa

Benchmark Nigerian Qua Iboe blend fell by 4 cents to $3.35 a barrel more than Dated Brent, Bloomberg data show. That’s the lowest since Feb. 28.

Gabon hopes to raise its force majeure, a legal clause that allows them to miss contracted deliveries due to circumstances beyond their control, before the end of the week, Energy and Petroleum Minister Etienne Ngoubou said today in an interview in the capital, Libreville. The halt was triggered by a workers’ strike.

Shell’s operations in the West African nation were unaffected by the strike, a London-based official said today by phone, asking not to be identified, citing corporate policy.

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