Middle East Crude-Benchmarks mixed; PetroChina buys 4 Murban cargoes

PetroChina bought 90 Dubai and Oman partials in a rare large single-day purchase


SINGAPORE- Middle East crude benchmarks Oman and Dubai were mixed on Tuesday, with PetroChina snapping up 2 million barrels of Middle East crude on the last day of the May trading cycle.

PetroChina bought 90 Dubai and Oman partials in a rare large single-day purchase during the market-on-close price assessment process, which led to the delivery of four May-loading cargoes of 500,000 barrels each.

Shell and Unipec will each deliver two Murban crude cargoes to PetroChina.

Brent's discount to Dubai swaps widened by 68 cents to $6.43 a barrel, setting a new record since at least 2004 when the data became available, Refinitiv Eikon data showed. 

The official selling price (OSP) for Oman crude in May will fall by $19.76 a barrel to $34.85 a barrel, Reuters calculations based on data from the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) showed.

The Dubai crude OSP, set at a 10 cent discount to DME Oman, was calculated at $34.75 a barrel. 

Iraq's Oil Marketing Company (SOMO) is touting April-loading crude cargoes to selected Asian customers, three trade sources said, in a rare offer of prompt crude cargoes as a growing global oil glut hits producers.

Some buyers have earlier sought to cancel some purchases of April-loading Middle East crude due to dropping fuel demand and lockdowns amid the global coronavirus pandemic, traders have told Reuters, increasing pressure on producers who are left with extra barrels to sell. 


China will grant export quotas for refined oil products to non-state refineries in the Zhejiang pilot free trade zone, the state council said in a statement. 


Royal Dutch Shell slowed refining output and will write down up to $800 million in the first quarter of 2020 after a dramatic drop in oil demand due to the coronavirus. 

A jump in freight rates has shaved profits for oil traders seeking to store crude for sale towards the end of the year, even as the contango in the first six months for Brent futures stretched to its widest ever, trade sources said. 

Standard Chartered expects oil demand in April to fall by 18.5 million barrels per day (bpd) year on year, deepening its previous forecast of a 10.5 million bpd fall, citing global lockdowns prompted by the coronavirus.

The Russian state has cut its holding in oil giant Rosneft to below a majority stake as part of its deal to buy the group's Venezuelan assets, announced over the weekend, a source familiar with the details told Reuters. 

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

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