SINGAPORE- Middle East crude benchmarks edged higher on Wednesday, although traders are watching developments on the Omicron variant to see how it would impact oil demand, while refinery season due from March could curb Asia's appetite for crude, sources said.

Traders said Chinese buyers would not be easily tempted by more affordable barrels, with independent refiners allocated slimmer import quotas this year and state companies already well supplied. 

Ongoing tax investigations in Shandong province, where most independents are based, have also curbed appetite for Brazilian and African oil in the world's largest importer.

Beijing is also expected to conduct a second SPR crude auction from its eastern Zhoushan storage.



- Vietnam's PV Oil has offered 300,000 barrels of Chim Sao crude oil loading over Feb. 24 to 28 in a tender that closes on Dec. 14 and is valid until Dec. 21.

- Vietnam's PV Oil has offered 300,000 barrels of Ruby crude for loading over Feb. 5 to 12 in a tender closing on Dec. 14 and valid until Dec. 21.



- Global commodity trader Trafigura Group hit a record net profit for a second year running in its 2021 financial year after a strong performance across divisions and significant energy market dislocations. 

- As top oil and gas officials reconvene on Wednesday to discuss how they expect to respond to demands for more energy with lower greenhouse gas releases, one topic will be missing: Cutting emissions from customers' fuel use. 

- Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd plans to invest $5 billion by 2030 mainly in hydrogen, in line with a global push for cleaner energy, armed with cash flow from its planned merger with BHP Group's BHP.AX petroleum arm. 

- China's Shandong province, the country's main independent oil refining hub, has turned to a deep-pocketed state-run coal miner to help fund a petrochemical complex it sees as key to the region's industrial future, sources and local state media said. 

- U.S. officials have told members of Congress they have an understanding with Germany about shutting down the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine, a senior congressional aide told Reuters on Tuesday. 

(Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel) ((; +65 6870 3822; Reuters Messaging:; Twitter: ))