Med Crude-Urals edge higher in south, sweets supported by Libya
LONDON, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Spot differentials on Russia's medium sour Urals edged higher in the Mediterranean on Tuesday as supply of sour crude in the south remained tighter than in the north. The price spread between Urals in the north and south has widened to over $1 a barrel, opening up an arbitrage opportunity for traders to bring in cheaper northern cargoes. "The arbitrage works, so definitely when the opportunity arises, we can send a cargo," one trader said. In the Platts window, Lukoil bid for an 80,000 tonne Urals cargo up to dated Brent flat cif Augusta loading on Sept. 17-22. Differentials on light sweet grades, notably Azeri Light, also rose on the back of Libya's oil crisis, which began at the end of July and has chopped its exports to 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) from a capacity of around 1.25 million bpd. It is the worst disruption since the Libyan civil war in 2011, but the International Energy Agency has not yet made any suggestion of a strategic stock release as it did two years ago. A person familiar with inter-government discussions on the oil market said one view is that the outages in Libya and other countries may have done no more than avert a fourth-quarter oversupply, which might have prompted the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut output. A bomb attack stopped oil flows through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline linking Iraq to Turkey early on Tuesday, Iraqi oil officials said. Sudan lifted a threat to block oil exports from its old enemy South Sudan as the leaders of the African neighbours met on Tuesday and promised to end their festering conflicts.