Middle East Crude-Dubai firms on PetroChina's demand

Middle East crude benchmark Dubai firmed on Wedn


SINGAPORE- Middle East crude benchmark Dubai firmed on Wednesday as PetroChina continued to sweep up February partials on the window.

The Chinese oil major will receive two Upper Zakum cargoes from Unipec and Reliance after Wednesday's trades, bringing its total haul this month to 10 cargoes of the Abu Dhabi grade.

ASIA-PACIFIC CRUDE: Spot premiums for February-loading cargoes fell after refining margins dropped in the region.

Petronas has sold 300,000 barrels of February-loading Bertam crude to Vitol at a premium of $4-$4.50 a barrel to dated Brent, down from a premium of close to $5 a barrel in the previous month.

Spot premiums for February-loading Bunga grades are down by nearly $1 from the previous month. PTT bought the Bunga Kekwa cargo while Glencore purchased the Bunga Orkid cargo.

PTT did not award a tender to buy sweet crude for February-March delivery because the offers were too high.

Condensate remained under pressure from ample supply and the absence of demand from Indonesia. Traders estimated that three North West Shelf (NWS) condensate cargoes loading in February were still available for sale. ConocoPhillips has sold the only Bayu Undan cargo loading in February to Shell at a discount between $4 and $5 a barrel to dated Brent.

Shell said on Wednesday it has begun output at its Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility in Australia. 

A trader said the first condensate cargo may be loaded in March or April even though analysts expect the plant to first export condensate in early 2019.

RUSSIA: Surgutneftegaz will close later on Wednesday a tender to sell five cargoes loading in February. Gazprom has sold its second cargo for the month although the price and buyer were not immediately available. Gazprom's cargo was to load on Feb. 13-23.

ARBITRAGE: China, the world's top oil importer, is set to start 2019 buying little or no crude from the United States despite a three-month truce in a trade scrap between the two nations, with relatively high freight costs and political uncertainty choking demand. 


OPEC and allied oil producers are ready to hold an extraordinary meeting and will do what is needed if the current cut in oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day does not balance the market next year, the United Arab Emirates' energy minister said on Sunday. 

Saudi Arabia overtook Russia as China's largest crude oil supplier in November, breaking Russia's 19-month streak of delivering the most crude to the world's largest oil importer, customs data showed on Monday. 

Kuwait's production of light crude is expected to rise to 250,000 barrels per day in three years' time and to 300,000 bpd by 2023, Ali Hussain Al-Kandari, manager of production and projects at Kuwait Oil Company said.

Exports from Iraq's northern Kirkuk oilfields to the Turkish port of Ceyhan will stay at between 80-90,000 barrels per day (bpd) as most of the crude produced is being diverted to feed refineries in the north, Iraq's oil minister said. 

A Chinese court sentenced the former general manager of Sinochem Group to 12 years in prison, state TV reported.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Tuesday that oil prices, which fell by more than a third this quarter, would become more stable in the first half of 2019. 

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday presented a $47 billion state budget with increased spending on lower income groups, saying U.S. sanctions would affect people's lives and economic growth but not bring the government to its knees. 

Libya's National Oil Corporation chairman Mustafa Sanalla and the country's internationally recognised Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj on Monday agreed a new security plan to protect El Sharara oilfield, which is still closed, the corporation said. 

Sixteen oil and gas firms have submitted applications for one or more of five Ghanaian offshore blocks in the West African country's first exploration licensing round, its energy ministry said. 

(Reporting by Florence Tan; editing by John Stonestreet) ((Florence.Tan@thomsonreuters.com; +65 6870 3497; Reuters Messaging: florence.tan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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