Total Buys More North Sea Forties; Surgut Sells Urals Crude

Total SA bought a cargo of North Sea Forties crude, bringing its total for the week to five, and raising the price differential to the most in almost two weeks.

OAO Surgutneftegas sold three 100,000 ton cargoes to Total and China International United Petroleum & Chemical Corp., known as Unipec, via tender for loading in the second half of April, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

North Sea

Vitol Group sold Forties to Total for loading from April 17 to April 19 at 30 cents a barrel less than Dated Brent, according to a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window. That compares with a trade yesterday at a discount of 35 cents and is the highest since March 21, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Total also bid unsuccessfully for April 21-24 loading Forties at minus 30 cents, the survey showed.

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 narrowed by 30 cents to a discount of 43 cents a barrel to Dated Brent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Brent for May settlement traded at $108.65 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London at the close of the window, compared with $110.56 in the previous session. The June contract was at $108.53, a discount of 12 cents to May. Futures prices for both Brent and West Texas Intermediate sank today after a government report showed that U.S. oil stockpiles climbed to the highest level in more than 22 years.

In the North Sea, the Buzzard field’s share of Forties rose to 46 percent for the week ending March 31, BP Plc said on its website. That’s up from 44 percent a week earlier and is the highest proportion since Jan. 20. Buzzard’s crude generally has a higher sulfur content than other fields that contribute to the grade.

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s largest crude exporter, narrowed the discounts used in determining its official selling prices for medium and heavy grades to customers in Europe for next month.


Eni SpA bid without finding a seller for 80,000 metric tons of Russian Urals at 85 cents less than Dated Brent on a delivered basis to Augusta, Italy, the Platts survey showed. That compares with a Feb. 22 deal at minus 90 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Urals discount to Dated Brent in the Mediterranean widened by 2 cents to $1.14 a barrel, data compiled by Bloomberg show. In northwest Europe, the discount was at $2.25 a barrel, compared with minus $2.15 in the previous session. That’s the widest since March 12.

Total was awarded a cargo from Surgut to load from Primorsk from April 22 to April 23 while Unipec won consignments from the same port on April 24 to April 25 and from Ust-Luga from April 22 to April 23, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, asking not to be identified as the information is confidential.

Saudi Aramco, as the Saudi state exporter is known, also reduced the differentials for light, medium and heavy crude grades for customers in the Mediterranean for May loadings.

West Africa

Benchmark Nigerian Qua Iboe blend rose by 3 cents to $3.28 a barrel more than Dated Brent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s the most since March 19.

Indian Oil Corp., the nation’s largest refiner, issued a tender to buy crude for loading in June, said two traders who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential.

The main rebel group in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger River delta said it’s resuming assaults on Africa’s biggest petroleum industry after its suspected leader, Henry Okah, was imprisoned in South Africa.

The Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta will start April 5 to carry out “a plague of attacks,” spokesman Jomo Gbomo said today in an e-mailed statement. “The attacks will be sustained until an unreserved apology is offered to MEND and the Nigerian government shows their willingness to dialogue.”

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