Asia Crude Outlook-Middle East Weak, Asia-Pacific Seen As Strong (Article in Reuters on 20.02.2012)

20 Feb

The Middle East spot crude market may weaken this week due in part to a spring turnaround and lower refining margins, while the Asia-Pacific market may get support from lower availabilities of Australian crude due to storms, traders said.


— Qatar may have sold April al-Shaheen crude via tender at wide ranges of premiums to Dubai quotes. The premiums may be in the range of below $2 a barrel to about $2.50-$2.60. That compares with premiums of around $2.50 a month ago.

Maersk was said to have sold its two cargoes at around $2.30-$2.50 premiums to Dubai quotes.

— Abu Dhabi light sour Murban crude may deepen its discounts this week from about 10-20 cents a barrel to OSP.

— April Banoco Arab Medium has traded at strong premiums of around 50 to 60 cents a barrel to Arab Medium official selling prices, due to steep cuts in Saudi OSPs.

— The volume of Japan‘s customs-cleared crude oil imports fell 2.1 percent in January from a year earlier, government data showed on Monday, extending the downtrend into a third month, while imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) hit a record high.

— Iran ordered a halt to its oil sales to Britain and France on Sunday in a move seen as retaliation against tightening EU sanctions over its disputed nuclear programme.

The move has no impact on the oil imports by Shell’s 35-percent-owned affiliate in Japan, Showa Sekiyu KK, industry sources said.

— Essar Oil, the second biggest Indian client of Iranian oil, will continue to buy 100,000 barrels per day from the Islamic country in the next fiscal year starting April 1 for its Vadinar refinery in the western state of Gujarat, Chief Executive L.K. Gupta said.



— Asia-Pacific crude is expected to get support from lower availabilities and a halt in Sudanese exports.

About five North West Shelf condensate cargoes are seen available, but two of the cargoes may be consumed by the producers. The offers have been floated at discounts of around $2 to dated Brent, narrower than the previous month.

— A total of 16 cargoes will be available for loading in April, down from the 18 cargoes seen in the previous month, preliminary estimates showed last week.

These are well below the 24-26 cargoes that the countries typically export when all fields are operating at full rates.

— The Brent/Dubai Exchange of Futures for Swaps (EFS) for April was valued at $3.75 a barrel, down from a near 12-week high of $4.33 on late Friday.

— April ICE Brent was up $1.26 at $120.84 at 0641 GMT. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Himani Sarkar)


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