|16 April, 2019

Middle East Crude-Benchmarks hit fresh highs this month

Middle East crude benchmarks rose on Tuesday to fresh highs this month

SINGAPORE- Middle East crude benchmarks rose on Tuesday to fresh highs this month, while Brent's premium to Dubai swaps fell for the first time in four sessions.

DME Oman's premium to Dubai swaps edged up 2 cents to $1.48 a barrel while cash Dubai's premium to swaps rose 11 cents to $1.25 a barrel.

Brent's premium to Dubai swaps fell 43 cents to $1.86 a barrel after touching the highest since October on Monday.

QATAR: Al-Shaheen crude loading in June has been sold prior to Qatar Petroleum's tender at premiums of more than $1.40 a barrel to Dubai quotes, traders said. This would be the highest premium for the grade since cargoes loading in November. 

QP will award a tender later on Tuesday to sell two spot cargoes.

KUWAIT: Kuwait Oil Company expects to start production of 11,000 bpd of heavy oil from South Ratqa in August. 

RUSSIA: Russia's Surgutneftegaz has sold two ESPO crude cargoes loading in late May to early June at the highest premium in six months, several trade sources said.

The producer sold the cargoes at premiums of about $4 a barrel above Dubai quotes, they said.

Petro-Diamond bought the cargoes which will load May 31 to June 5 and June 2 to 7, the sources said.

ESPO's premiums rose because of a wider Brent-Dubai price spread and robust demand from Chinese teapots, they said.

Surgut issued another tender to sell a cargo loading on June 6-12 that will close on Wednesday.

ExxonMobil has offered two June-loading Sokol crude cargoes in a tender to close on Thursday.

MALAYSIA: ConocoPhillips plans to sell a Kimanis crude cargo loading on June 7-11 on Wednesday.

REFINERY

Striking workers at Royal Dutch Shell's Pernis plant in the Netherlands have taken offline a thermal gasoil installation, a Dutch union said on Monday, in the first sign of any impact from industrial action on Europe's largest oil refinery. 

There was an explosion at Royal Dutch Shell's Scotford refinery in Alberta on Monday, a company spokeswoman said, without immediately giving details of whether there were any injuries or impact on production. 

Iraq's oil ministry will construct a refinery in Kirkuk with a capacity of 150,000 barrels per day, Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban said on Monday. 

NEWS

U.S. crude oil output from seven major shale formations is expected to rise by about 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) in May to a record 8.46 million bpd, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its monthly drilling productivity report on Monday. 

The costs of a massive fire and chemical spill at a Houston petrochemical facility have begun trickling out, with a local official on Monday estimating emergency response costs at $800,000 for the first two weeks of the disaster alone. 

China National Petroleum Company, or CNPC, said on Tuesday it managed to recover crude oil output at a key investment in Venezuela, the MPE3 project, to 93,000 barrels per day by end of March, despite power blackouts that rocked the south American oil producer.

Iran is likely to award up to five oil exploration and production contracts to local firms, with the first deal expected within months, a senior oil official was quoted on Monday as saying. 

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

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