North Sea Crude-Forties unchanged, competing crudes eyed
* Forties offered at dated minus 30 cents * Lower West African, Urals exports may support * Swaps values weaken, backwardation retained LONDON, Nov 22 (Reuters) - North Sea Forties crude differentials were unchanged on Thursday as the market further digested news of the latest force majeure out of West Africa and the possibility this will reduce the supply of competing crudes coming to Europe. On Wednesday, ExxonMobil became the fourth oil major in a month to warn customers over delays to Nigerian oil and gas exports, declaring force majeure for exports of Qua Iboe. This is likely to cut exports of West African crudes to Europe at a time when Urals exports are also seen falling, with a shorter than usual Russian programme in early December. "Eight cargoes short compared to normal is a lot," said one trader. "Urals might rocket from that, although not yet, and Forties is one alternative Urals buyers might look into." Talk of shipments to South Korea also continued to circulate despite scepticism in some quarters about viability of such trades. Shipping fixtures showed Statoil was interested in booking the VLCC Samco Scandinavia to take Troll from Mongstad to South Korea around Dec. 15-17. "It sounds like it's happening," a trader said. FORTIES * No cargoes traded as there were no bids and three of the four offers were withdrawn by Mercuria and Morgan Stanley. Mercuria was initially offering two cargoes. * The only offer to stand was Vitol's. It offered its Dec. 3-5 cargo again at dated minus 30 cents, unchanged from its last offer on Wednesday for the same cargo, but down from Tuesday's deal for a Dec. 4-6 cargo at dated minus 25 cents. SWAPS * Values weakened across the swaps curve. The backwardation was retained but narrowed at the front end: 26-30/11 Feb +98 3-7/12 Feb +96 10-14/12 Feb +79 17-21/12 Feb +63 24-28/12 Feb +47 31-04/1 Feb +31 DATABASE
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