|20 December, 2018

Middle East Crude-DME Oman jumps; Dubai weakens

Middle East crude benchmarks were mixed on Thursday

SINGAPORE- Middle East crude benchmarks were mixed on Thursday as DME Oman held its ground despite sharp drops in outright prices for Brent and Dubai.

DME Oman's marker price was at $55.65 a barrel, on par with the 1-minute ICE Brent price. That puts DME Oman's premium to Dubai swaps at $1.47 a barrel, up 61 cents from the previous session, the highest premium in two months. Brent is typically priced higher than Oman because of quality differences.

Shell placed a bid for Upper Zakum at 5 cents below its official selling price (OSP) on window, narrower than the discounts of 10-15 cents a barrel seen for the grade earlier this week.

MIDEAST CRUDE: Thailand's PTT has bought three Middle East crude cargoes loading in February via a tender, trade sources said.

It bought two Murban cargoes at discounts of 25-30 cents a barrel to its OSP and one Upper Zakum cargo at 30-40 cents a barrel above Dubai quotes, the sources said.

The prices were in line with recent trades in the market.

ASIA-PACIFIC CRUDE: Spot premiums for regional grades stayed firm.

ConocoPhillips has sold a Kimanis cargo loading on Feb. 19-23 at a premium of $5.50-$6 a barrel to dated Brent, similar to the previous month.

Exxon Mobil has sold a Bayu Urip crude cargo to PTT at a premium of more than $4 a barrel to dated Brent.

RUSSIA: Sakhalin Energy has sold five crude cargoes loading between February and March at similar premiums to ones in the previous month, trade sources said.

The cargoes were sold at an average premium of about $2 a barrel to Dubai quotes, with the highest premium at about $2.30 a barrel, one of the sources said.

One of the cargoes was sold to a term buyer, and the rest to end-users in South Korea and China, said the sources.

The cargoes will load on Feb. 13-19, Feb. 19-25, Feb. 25-March 3, March 3-9 and 9-15, they said.

Gazprom will close a tender on Friday to sell an ESPO crude cargo loading on Feb. 13-23.

NEWS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency granted oil major Exxon Mobil Corp XOM.N a financial hardship waiver this year temporarily freeing its Montana refinery from U.S. biofuel laws, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. 

Surging U.S. crude oil production will offset OPEC's output cuts aimed at rebalancing the market as soon as the end of next year - undercutting the group's efforts as shale producers ramp up output regardless of the price environment, forecasts show. 

U.S. and Norwegian oil majors Chevron and Equinor have become the latest targets of activist investors moving to force five of the biggest oil companies to commit to fixed emissions targets and align with the Paris climate agreement. 

Oil producer group OPEC plans to release a table detailing voluntary output cut quotas for its members and allies such as Russia in an effort to shore up prices, OPEC's secretary-general said in a letter seen by Reuters on Thursday. 

Kazakhstan will cut its oil output by 40,000 barrels per day and "take all the necessary measures" to meet its obligations under a deal between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to curb crude production, the Kazakh Energy Ministry said on Thursday. 

South Sudan on Wednesday exported one million barrels of oil from its Toma South oilfield via its northern neighbour Sudan's ports, Sudanese news agency SUNA said. 

China's fuel exports will likely rise to about 51 million tonnes in 2019, Sinopec's think-tank said in its annual outlook report on Thursday.

(Reporting by Florence Tan, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips) ((Florence.Tan@thomsonreuters.com; +65 6870 3497; Reuters Messaging: florence.tan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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