Middle East Crude-Benchmarks mixed; Australian grades fetch high premiums

Middle East crude benchmarks Oman and Dubai were mixed on Thursday

  

SINGAPORE- Middle East crude benchmarks Oman and Dubai were mixed on Thursday, with Oman differential plunging in volatile trading as the March-loading cycle approaches its end.

Spot premiums for March-loading Australian heavy sweet crude rose this week, with Pyrenees at its highest in 10 months, supported by higher prices for low-sulphur shipping fuel, trade sources said. 

BHP has sold a Pyrenees crude cargo to Vitol at a premium of more than $11 a barrel to dated Brent, while Woodside sold a Vincent crude cargo at a slightly higher premium than that for Pyrenees to Shell, the sources said.

Oil Search has sold a cargo of Papua New Guinea's Kutubu crude, loading March 27-31, at a premium of above $1.5 to dated Brent to trading house Trafigura, traders said.

REFINERY

South Korea's S-Oil Corp expects refining margins to improve gradually this year, boosted by a continuing recovery in demand as coronavirus vaccines are rolled out, amid limited capacity additions. 

NEWS

Global oil demand is expected to rise by nearly 7% this year, boosted by quicker vaccine distribution and a better economic outlook, consultancy Wood Mackenzie said on Thursday. U.S. crude oil stockpiles fell by nearly 10 million barrels last week to their lowest since March, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Russia's Litasco, an oil trading arm of Lukoil, will finance Iraq's Nassiriya oil project to double production capacity to 200,000 barrels per day (bpd), Iraq's state-run Dhiqar Oil Co said in a statement on Wednesday. 

Colombia aims to sign 15 oil exploration contracts in 2021, Mines and Energy Minister Diego Mesa said on Wednesday, while setting the country's crude production target for the year at 865,000 barrels of oil per day. 

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

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