Middle East Crude-Benchmarks improve; Russian Sokol rebounds

The Middle East crude benchmarks improved on Thursday while Russian Sokol’s premium rebounded as low prices drew demand. Mercuria and Shell bought two May Dubai partials from Reliance and Chinaoil at $49.20 and $49.24, respectively. The trades narrowed cash Dubai’s discount to swaps to 45 cents from 70 cents in the previous session. Oman edged up 4 cents to 18 cents above Dubai swaps.

BP offered Murban at 23 cents below its OSP on RIM but there was no bid. Most of the May-loading Murban were traded around 20 cents below its OSP, including four cargoes purchased by PTT and Thai Oil, traders said. Spot premiums for Russian Sokol crude rebounded on Thursday after ONGC sold a cargo at a higher premium than its previous tender, traders said.

The cargo loading on May 19-25 was sold at $1.90-$2.00 a barrel above Oman-Dubai quotes to Trafigura via a tender, they said. ONGC last sold Sokol loading in early May at a premium of $1.55 a barrel. Sakhalin Energy sold five May-June loading cargoes at $1-$1.50 a barrel above Dubai quotes. The premiums were steady or higher than the previous month.

*TENDERS COUNTRY/COMPANY GRADE VOL COUNTERPARTY/PRICE LOADING DATE *RUSSIA/ONGC s:Sokol 700KB Trafigura Oman/Dubai May 19-25 +$1.9-$2 *TAIWAN/CPC b:Upper 4000KB Upper Zakum at OSP May Zakum, Qatar -10-20 c/b Land, Kurdish Qatar Land OSP lower crude than -40 c/b *PRICES ($/BBL) CURRENT PREV SESSION DME OMAN 49.87 49.74 DME OMAN DIFF TO DUBAI 0.18 0.14 CASH DUBAI 49.24 48.90

*MARKET NEWS Libya’s oil production has reached 700,000 barrels per day (bpd), the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Wednesday, recovering from a drop earlier this month caused by fighting at two key oil ports.

The head of crude oil trading at Chinese state energy giant PetroChina has resigned after 20 years with the company, a rare departure from a state-owned enterprise known for retaining talent in the midst of rapid expansion. London-based oil trader Arcadia Petroleum, owned by shipping magnate John Fredriksen, is expanding its trading team and moving into other commodities after a sharp down-sizing in 2013 and 2014 amid diminished volatility and tougher regulations.

South Korea’s Lotte Chemical Corp said on Thursday it had not been picked as a preferred bidder for the acquisition of Singapore petrochemical company Jurong Aromatics Corp (JAC). For crude prices, oil product cracks and refining margins, please click on the RICs below. Brent Dubai DME Oman Brent/Dubai EFS PRODUCT CRACKS Fuel oil crack Gasoil crack Naphtha crack Complex refining margins

Source: Reuters (Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)