Bloomberg News

Total Buys More Forties Crude; Threat of Norway Workers Strike

April 04, 2013

Total SA bought another cargo of North Sea Forties crude, bringing its total to six since March 27 and raising the price to the most in more than two weeks.

A potential strike by energy workers in Norway could shut as many as 20 oil and gas platforms less than a year after a previous labor dispute disrupted output in western Europe’s biggest producer.

North Sea

Vitol Group sold Forties to Total for loading from April 18 to April 20 at 25 cents a barrel less than Dated Brent, according to a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window. That compares with a trade yesterday at a discount of 30 cents and is the highest since March 20, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Vitol has been the seller on five out of the six cargoes that Total has bought.

Total also bid unsuccessfully for April 21-24 loading Forties at minus 25 cents, the survey showed.

Reported crude trading typically occurs during the Platts window, which ends at 4:30 p.m. London time. Forties loading in 10 to 25 days narrowed by 14 cents to a discount of 29 cents a barrel to Dated Brent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Brent for May settlement traded at $105.84 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London at the close of the window, compared with $108.65 in the previous session. The June contract was at $105.65, a discount of 19 cents to May.

The Industry Energy union in Norway could order as many as 1,559 workers to walk out from 6 a.m. on April 8 if wage negotiations between private sector workers and employers passes a deadline at the end of April 7 without a deal, it said in a statement. More than 300 of the employees work at two supply bases for platforms in the North and Norwegian seas including Troll, Oseberg, Aasgard, Draugen and Heidrun.

Crude shipments from Dansk Undergrunds Consortium, the producer part-owned by A.P. Moeller Maersk A/S, will drop to five cargoes in May, a loading program obtained by Bloomberg News showed. DUC is the first schedule released of the 12 main North Sea grades. The most important four, Brent, Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk, are expected to be issued tomorrow.

Mediterranean/Urals

Eni SpA bid without finding a seller for 80,000 to 100,000 metric tons of Russian Urals at discounts of 70 cents and $1 respectively to Dated Brent on a delivered basis to Augusta, Italy, the Platts survey showed. That compares with a Feb. 22 deal at minus 90 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Urals discount to Dated Brent in the Mediterranean narrowed by 28 cents to 86 cents a barrel, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s the highest since Feb. 5. In northwest Europe, the discount was at $2.20 a barrel, compared with minus $2.25 in the previous session.

West Africa

Benchmark Nigerian Qua Iboe blend rose by 32 cents to $3.60 a barrel more than Dated Brent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s the most since Oct. 6, 2011.

Hindustan Petroleum Corp., India’s third-largest state refiner, is seeking to buy crude for loading from June 1 to June 30, according to two traders with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rupert Rowling in London at rrowling@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net


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