North Sea Crude-Forties sells slowly, December programme pending

Mon Nov 4, 2013 12:20pm EST

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* Prompt Forties trades at dated minus 70 cents
    * Later cargo trades at dated minus 24 cents
    * Buzzard pumping well, refinery demand weak

    LONDON, Nov 4 (Reuters) - North Sea Forties crude
differentials remained under pressure on Monday as sellers
attempted to offload surplus November barrels ahead of the
release of December loading programmes.
    Although competing Russian Urals crude has firmed over the
past week due to problems with Iraqi Kirkuk shipments, North Sea
crude has failed to sell well this month. 
    Indeed, Brent crude futures for immediate delivery
have moved towards a contango price structure for the first time
since June, reflecting the plentiful supplies and weak refinery
demand. 
    A contango is where the spot price is cheaper than crude to
be delivered at a future date. 
    Buzzard, the biggest contributor to the Forties stream, is
still pumping well, up at around 210,000 barrels per day, its
maximum operating capacity. 
    European refining margins have improved in recent days after
a prolonged period of weakness, but the upturn may have come too
late for Murphy's Milford Haven refinery in Wales.
    The refinery has been up for sale for years, but although
one potential buyer remains in the running, the process is said
to be close to collapse. 
               
    FORTIES
    * BP sold a Nov. 17-19 Forties cargo to Shell at
dated minus 24 cents. This is up from last Tuesday's trade at
dated Brent minus 54 cents.
    * Mercuria sold its Nov. 13-15 Forties cargo to BP at
dated minus 70 cents. This weak price reflects the prompt nature
of the cargo.
    * Trafigura offered Forties loading on Nov. 15-17 at dated
minus 35 cents. 
    
    OTHER CRUDES
    * BP offered Ekofisk loading on Nov. 21-23 at dated Brent
plus $1.20 and Brent loading on Nov. 24-26 at dated Brent plus
25 cents.
    * Shell bid for Oseberg loading around Nov. 19-26 at dated
Brent plus 74 cents.    
    
    SWAPS
    * Click on for the latest contracts-for-difference.
    
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