Med Crude-Urals lower; Iraq to switch benchmarks

Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:48pm GMT

 * Urals MED weakens, margins narrow
 * Iraq to switch to ASCI from U.S. crude futures
 * March BTC/Azeri steady to higher
  
 LONDON, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Russian Urals crude oil
differentials weakened in the south on Thursday as refining
margins narrowed alongside firmer outright prices.
 Iraq will from April switch the benchmark for pricing sales
of around half a million barrels per day (bpd) of crude to the
United States, a senior Iraqi oil official said on Thursday. 
 It will use the Argus Sour Crude Index instead of the NYMEX
U.S. light sweet crude futures. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have
already switched.  [ID:nWEB9729] 
 
 URALS MED
 * Glencore bought a Urals from Vitol at dated minus 90
cents, traders said. The loading dates were thought to be Feb.
24-28. Eni bought a cargo from Gunvor at dated minus 75 cents.
 Both of those were down from Wednesday, when the Feb. 20-24
period was bid to dated minus 70 cents.
 URALS NWE
 * Once again there was little in the way of bids and offers,
although Gunvor was offering Feb. 26-March 2 at dated minus 55
cents, in line with Wednesday, traders said.
 Some traders saw better prospects to ship Urals out of the
region as supportive. No bid was seen on Thursday.
 
 BTC/AZERI LIGHT
 * There was talk that Statoil moved its March 3 cargo of BTC
at around dated plus $1.60, although that could not be
confirmed. If done, that would put levels in the middle of the
dated plus $1.50 to plus $1.70 heard on Wednesday.
 REFINING MARGINS <REF/MARGIN1>
 * Urals margins for complex refineries in the Mediterranean
weakened to $2.85 a barrel, down from the five-day average of
$4.00.
 
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 (Reporting by Alex Lawler; Editing by Keiron Henderson)
































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