* Forties offered at dated minus 30 cents
* Lower West African, Urals exports may support
* Swaps values weaken, backwardation retained
LONDON, Nov 22 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
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
* 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four offers were withdrawn by Mercuria and Morgan Stanley.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.
* 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