Middle East Crude-Benchmarks edge up; ESPO's spot discount widens

Middle East crude benchmarks Oman and Dubai edged up on Monday

  

SINGAPORE- Middle East crude benchmarks Oman and Dubai edged up on Monday, while spot differentials for Russian ESPO Blend crude fell to a record low in Asia as abundant supplies and low demand weighed on oil markets.

Russia's Surgutneftegaz sold three June-loading 740,000-barrel ESPO Blend crude cargoes to trading firm Gunvor in a spot tender awarded on Friday at wide discounts estimated from $4.60 a barrel to $5.00 a barrel to Dubai quotes, traders said. 

Vietnam's PV Oil awarded June-loading Ruby, Chim Sao and Bach Ho Light crude to domestic Binh Son refinery, traders said.

Binh Son refinery has issued a tender seeking up to 7.5 million barrels of sweet crude for delivery over July-December, traders said.

China's Sinopec lifted April-loading cargo of Khafji crude produced from the Neutral Zone shared by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, two sources said.

REFINERY

Japan's Cosmo Oil, a unit of Cosmo Energy Holdings Co Ltd 5021.T , shut down the 102,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) No.2 crude distillation unit (CDU) at the Chiba refinery on April 18 for planned maintenance, a company spokeswoman said on Monday.

NEWS

The founder and director of top Singapore oil-trading company Hin Leong Trading Pte Ltd (HLT) directed the firm not to disclose hundreds of millions of dollars in losses over several years, he said in a court filing reviewed by Reuters

Some oil refiners are picking up more crude cargoes at the last minute from locations nearby as uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak discourages their more usual approach of making advanced orders, market sources said. 

Numerous U.S. and Canadian oil companies have said they are reducing output in 2020, but a Reuters analysis of the announcements so far show that just three companies - Chevron Corp, ConocoPhillips and Occidental Petroleum Corp - account for more than half of the cuts. 

Traders are storing an estimated record 160 million barrels of oil on ships - double the level from two weeks ago as they seek to tackle a glut of stocks created by a slide in global demand from the coronavirus, shipping sources say. 

The Russian government will extend Transneft boss Nikolai Tokarev's contract for five years despite the contaminated oil crisis at the pipeline monopoly a year ago. 

(Reporting By Shu Zhang; Editing by Aditya Soni) ((shu.zhang@thomsonreuters.com; +65-6870-3549; Reuters Messaging: Twitter @shuzhang4))

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