SINGAPORE- Middle East crude benchmarks Oman and Dubai eased for a third straight session on Thursday despite robust demand from Total on the Platts window.
Russia's Surgutneftegaz sold its remaining three ESPO Blend crude cargoes for loading in March at premiums mostly in line with the previous two tenders, trade sources said.
Cargoes loading on March 17-24 and 21-28 were sold at premiums of around $5 a barrel to Dubai quotes while the last cargo loading on March 24-31 fetched a premium of $4.60-$4.70 a barrel, they said.
Vitol bought two cargoes while ChemChina purchased one, traders said.
China has offloaded close to four million barrels of Iranian crude oil into state reserve tanks in the southern port city of Zhanjiang over the past few weeks, a trade source and ship tracking specialist Vortexa Analytics said on Thursday.
China reported the first imports of Iranian crude oil in a year despite ongoing sanctions by the United States government, according to data released by customs on Thursday.
China found three independent oil refiners evaded fuel tax and punished a unit of a state oil major for irregular crude oil trade following months of investigations, as part of a broader clampdown to consolidate its massive refining sector.
Alaska officials said Wednesday they see a brightening picture for oil production in the future, bolstered by stronger crude prices due to rising worldwide demand.
UAE energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Wednesday that he was "not worried about the short term" when asked about predictions that oil prices will rise above $100.
(Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel) ((Florence.Tan@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))