Middle East Crude-Benchmarks hold steady; ESPO climbs on China demand

Middle East crude benchmarks Oman and Dubai held steady on Tuesday

  

SINGAPORE- Middle East crude benchmarks Oman and Dubai held steady on Tuesday, while ESPO premiums touched near 2-year highs, supported by firm Asia demand.

Taiwan's Formosa Petrochemical bought 2 million barrels of Oman crude via tender, traders said. The price was not immediately known.

Thailand's PTT bought on behalf of refiner IRPC a Murban cargo at a premium of $3.30-$3.40 a barrel above Dubai quotes, in line with values on the IFAD exchange, traders said.

ASIA-PACIFIC CRUDE

Spot premiums for December-loading regional grades rose, underpinned by tighter supplies after Malaysia cut Kimanis exports and as Vietnam's domestic demand has recovered.

Petroleum Brunei sold its Kimanis crude cargo to an end-user at 50 cents a barrel above its official selling price, traders said. Last month, the producer sold a November-loading cargo at a premium of 40 cents.

PV Oil sold its Chim Sao crude cargo at a premium of $3-$3.50 a barrel to dated Brent to PV Oil Singapore, traders said.

RUSSIAN CRUDE

Spot premiums for Russian ESPO crude loading in December touched a near two-year high of $6 a barrel, after producer Surgutneftegaz sold another three cargoes in a second tender this month, several trade sources said.

Surgut awarded the tender late on Monday at premiums ranging from $5.70 to around $6 a barrel, they said. These are the highest premiums since trades in January 2020, data on Refinitiv Eikon showed.

European trader Trafigura and Japanese trading house Mitsui Corp likely bought the cargoes, the sources added.

The cargoes are likely headed to China, the world's top importer, as imports by independent refiners rebound towards year end, the sources said.

Russian ESPO, a preferred grade among Chinese independents, has become more expensive than Middle East light grades and North Sea's Forties, one of the sources said, keeping other Asian buyers at bay.

A second source said: "At these price levels, nobody else is really taking."

REFINERY

Unipec, the trading arm of Asia's largest refiner Sinopec, has stepped in to supply crude oil to two independent refiners facing an official tax probe, as Beijing moves to help them maintain their operations for now, several sources told Reuters.

NEWS

Oil production in the largest U.S. shale formation is expected to rise in November but remain below the record-high forecast given for March 2020, according to a monthly government report released on Monday. 

OPEC+ compliance with oil cuts fell slightly to 115% in September, sources said, indicating that as the alliance raises production targets, some members still face challenges in pumping more oil.

(Reporting by Florence Tan; editing by Jason Neely) ((Florence.Tan@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging: florence.tan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))


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