December 4, 2013 / 5:30 PM / in 4 years

North Sea Crude-Forties rises on firm demand, Brent delays

* Forties trades at dated Brent plus 65 cents
    * All Brent December cargoes now delayed
    * Buchan Alpha platform closed as storm brews
    * Ekofisk Chilean fixture for December spotted

    LONDON, Dec 4 (Reuters) - North Sea Forties crude oil traded
higher on Wednesday as demand remained firm whilst supply
continued to tighten across the region with further delays to
Brent loadings.  
    Traders said that all seven Brent cargoes for December had
now been pushed off their original loading dates, following
production issues. "We are hearing field problems," one said.  
    The last cargo in the schedule - parcel B1207 - will now
load on Jan. 4-6, a second trader said. 
    Taqa, which operates the Brent pipeline system,
and some of the fields feeding into Brent, said it could not
comment on daily production fluctuations or any changes to
partner production resulting in lower flows through the Brent
    Talisman Sinopec has closed its Buchan Alpha platform in the
British North Sea ahead of an approaching storm. The floating
platform contributes fewer than 5,000 barrels of oil per day to
the Forties crude stream. 
    The removal of personnel follows similar moves by BP 
and Conoco in the Norwegian sector on Tuesday.
 Buzzard, the biggest contributor to the Forties
stream, is still unaffected, traders said. 
    Buzzard accounted for 48 percent of Forties output in the
week Nov. 25-Dec. 1, down from 49 percent the week before,
according to the latest update on the Forties Pipeline System
    Demand to ship North Sea crudes out of northwest Europe
remains steady. Trafigura is looking to move 130,000 tonnes of
Ekofisk from Teesport to Chile around Dec. 10 on the Majestic,
shipping fixtures showed on Wednesday.  
    Also, Repsol has fixed another Forties shipment from Hound
Point to northern Spain for Dec. 9 with the 80,000 tonne Alatau.
    Mediterranean refiners have been steady buyers of North Sea
crudes over the past month as Libyan crude supplies have become
    Libya said it expected to reopen all its oil ports on Dec.
10 and resume full production about a week after that but
traders and analysts are sceptical this will be achieved.
    * Vitol sold a Forties cargo loading on Dec. 25-27 to
Trafigura at dated Brent plus 65 cents. This was up from
Tuesday's trade at dated Brent plus 60 cents for Dec. 16-18
    * Hetco offered its Dec. 23-25 Forties cargo at dated Brent
plus 55 cents, down from its last offer on Tuesday for the same
cargo at dated Brent plus 70 cents.
    * ENI offered its Dec. 23-25 Ekofisk cargo at dated Brent
plus $1.50, down from its last offer for the same cargo on
Tuesday at dated Brent plus $1.55.
    * The quality premium for December-loading Ekofisk cargoes
is 68 cents.
    * Click on for the latest contracts-for-difference.
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