SINGAPORE Oct 7 Refiner Thai Oil has
bought North Sea Forties crude for the first time to reduce oil
feedstock costs after prices for Middle East and Asia-Pacific
supply surged, sources with knowledge of the matter said on
Thailand has joined China and South Korea in becoming buyers
of Forties, the largest crude stream that underpins Brent.
Asia's strong demand for Forties in September-October has
supported Brent prices during peak refinery maintenance season
in Europe. The trade became more viable following a fall in
Brent's premium over Dubai crude and as spot premiums for Middle
East and Asia-Pacific supply surged to multi-month highs.
"We saw quite a fair bit of Murban buyers in Asia turning to
North Sea crude," a crude buyer in Asia said. "Japan's buying
West Africa grades was also evidence of that."
Thai Oil has bought about 500,000 barrels of Forties from
Unipec, the trading arm of Asia's largest refiner Sinopec
, the sources said.
The oil will be discharged from Very Large Crude Carrier
Marbat, which left Hound Point with Forties in September for
Yangpu in China, the sources said.
(Additional reporting by Claire Milhench in LONDON; Reporting
by Florence Tan; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)