North Sea Ekofisk Crude Exports to Sink to Six-Year Low

Shipments of North Sea Ekofisk crude for June are set to drop to the lowest monthly tally in at least six years because of oilfield maintenance.

Shipments are planned at three cargoes of 600,000 barrels each, nine less than a revised total for this month, a loading program obtained by Bloomberg News showed. That represents a daily volume of 60,000 barrels, the lowest since at least August 2007, when Bloomberg began compiling such data.

Two cargoes of the grade for loading in April were deferred to May, a revised plan for that month showed.

BP Plc plans a 30-day halt at its Ula, Tambar, Hod and Valhall fields for maintenance in the North Sea from June 3, Jan Erik Geirmo, a spokesman for BP, said April 30 by e-mail. Oil produced from these deposits is normally sent via pipeline to Ekofisk for transport onward to Teesside in the U.K., according to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

Ekofisk is one of four North Sea grades that make up the Dated Brent benchmark, which is used to price crude from the Middle East, Africa and Russia. The other blends are Brent, Forties and Oseberg. The reduction at Ekofisk will drag down the combined BFOE combined tally for the four grades.

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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