Middle East Crude-Benchmarks edge higher; tenders eyed

Middle East crude benchmarks extended gains on Wedn

  

SINGAPORE- Middle East crude benchmarks extended gains on Wednesday while traders eyed results from tenders to gauge price direction for March-loading cargoes.

MIDEAST CRUDE: Japanese refiner Fuji Oil has bought two Qatar Land crude cargoes via a tender at discounts of about 10 cents a barrel to its official selling price (OSP), trade sources said.

Petro-Diamond and P66 sold the cargoes, they said. The discount was narrower than the previous month.

Qatar Petroleum and BAPCO are expected to award their sell tenders by end-Wednesday.

Prior to that, Equinor has sold a March-loading Banoco Arab Medium crude cargo probably at 20 cents a barrel below its OSP, traders said.

RUSSIA: Russian ESPO crude premiums for cargoes loading in March have climbed from the previous month as China's demand has picked up, trade sources said.

Chinese independent refiners, also known as teapots, are now more actively seeking cargoes for delivery in March and April after a demand trough in February because of Lunar New Year, they said.

The recent recovery in global oil prices has also improved the outlook for China's domestic fuel prices, one of the sources said.

Oil producer Surgutneftegaz has sold two ESPO crude cargoes at premiums between $3.10 and slightly above $3.20 a barrel to Dubai quotes in a tender awarded late on Tuesday, the sources said.

Unipec and Glencore bought the cargoes that will load on Feb. 28-March 5 and March 4-9, they said.

REFINERY

New gasoline supply is expected to exceed the growth in demand this year in Asia as new refineries starting up in Malaysia, China and Brunei will unleash a flood of the motor fuel and naphtha.

NEWS

Eastern forces loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar have launched a military operation in southern Libya to secure oil and gas facilities and fight extremists, a spokesman said on Tuesday, a move that may alarm the authorities in Tripoli in the west. 

Crude oil output from the United States is expected to rise to a new record of more than 12 million barrels per day (bpd) this year and to climb to nearly 13 million bpd next year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday in its first 2020 forecast. 

European exports of gasoline to the Middle East and Asia surged so far in January as high inventories in the Atlantic basin and a drop in fuel prices sparked bargain hunting around the world. 

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies will meet on April 17-18 in Vienna to review their oil supply cut deal, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, confirming a proposed date.

Oil majors Chevron and Total, along with major Indian refiner Reliance Industries, have joined the blockchain-based platform Vakt, London-based Vakt said on Tuesday. 

(Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier) ((Florence.Tan@thomsonreuters.com; +65 6870 3497; Reuters Messaging: florence.tan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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