Aramco Cuts All February Differentials to Asia: Persian Gulf Oil

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s largest crude exporter, cut price differentials for all grades to Asia for February, according to an e-mailed statement.

Oman Refineries and Petroleum Industries Co., known as Orpic, started about 10 days of unplanned maintenance at its Sohar refinery.

The following is a weekly summary of Persian Gulf crude and product-market news and upcoming events:


Saudi Arabia’s state-owned producer, known as Saudi Aramco, reduced the monthly formula premium for Arab Light crude, its biggest blend, to Asia by $1.30 to $2.45 a barrel more than the average of benchmark Oman and Dubai grades, the Middle East benchmark.

The company cut the price differential to buyers in northwest Europe and the Mediterranean by 85 cents and 65 cents, respectively, while raising it by 20 cents for delivery to the U.S. Aramco also cut the premium for Arab Medium crude to Asia by $1 to 10 cents more than the benchmark.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., the state producer in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, raised prices for all crude blends loaded in December, according to an announcement yesterday. Adnoc, as the company is known, set the price for it main blend Murban crude at $113.85 a barrel, up from $112.20 for November.

Adnoc raised Lower Zakum crude to $113.70 a barrel, from $112.05, and set Upper Zakum at $110.20, up from $109. Adnoc increased Umm Shaif crude to $113.15 a barrel from $111.50.

Oman crude’s official selling price for February will be$107.88 a barrel, according to the average of daily futures settlement prices in December on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange. That’s up $1.91, or 1.8 percent, from January’s $105.97. Oman crude’s official selling price has been pegged to the monthly average on the DME since June 2007.

In regional spot trading, Oman and Dubai grades declined for the first time in three weeks, each slipping $3.70 a barrel, or 3.4 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Oman crude fell to $105.13 a barrel in the week ended Jan. 3. Dubai dropped to $104.99 a barrel.

European benchmark Brent crude’s premium to Mideast marker Dubai declined for a second week. The Brent-Dubai exchange futures for swaps, or EFS, fell 12 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $3.72 a barrel in trading through Jan. 3, according to PVM Oil Associates.

Refined Products, Fuel Tenders and Refineries

Oman shut its refinery at Sohar for emergency maintenance on Dec. 31 with work expected to take five to 10 days, Orpic said that day. The refinery had problems in its sour water stripper unit, Orpic said. The Sohar refinery and another at Muscat have a combined capacity of 222,000 barrels of crude a day, according to the company’s website.

Saudi Aramco cut its January contract price for liquefied petroleum gas, a company official said Dec. 31. It set propane at $1,010 per metric ton, down $90 from last month, the official said, asking not to be identified by name due to internal policy. Aramco cut butane by $205 to $1,020 a ton for January.

Kuwait Petroleum Corp. announced on the same day identical prices levels and month-on-month changes for its January LPG supplies.

KPC sold a full-range naphtha cargo to Royal Dutch Shell Plc at a premium of about $33 a metric ton to Middle East prices, two traders said Jan. 3. The 50,000 ton cargo will load Jan. 8-9. KPC also sold a 24,000 ton cargo of light naphtha to Vitol Group for Jan. 26-27 loading at an undisclosed price, traders said.

Qatar International Petroleum Marketing Co., known as Tasweeq, offered 30,000 tons of 90-RON gasoline for loading from Feb. 1-15 from the port of Mesaieed, according to a tender document obtained by Bloomberg News. The company also offered 500,000-barrel cargoes of deodorized field condensate and low-sulfur condensate for loading from Ras Laffan during March.

The Qatari marketer canceled a tender to sell 50,000 tons of plant condensate for February loading from Ras Laffan, offering instead 25,000 tons of full-range naphtha for Feb. 18-28 loading, according to a tender document. All bids are due Jan. 14 at 1 p.m. Doha time and valid until Jan. 16 at 5 p.m.

Jordan Petroleum Refinery Co. bought 110,000 tons of fuel oil from Shell, according to an announcement on its website yesterday. The state refinery paid a premium of $45 a ton for 70,000 tons and a premium of $38.50 a ton for 40,000 tons. The refiner also bought 140,000 tons of fuel oil from Bakri Trading at a premium of $43 a ton.

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