July 25, 2012 / 5:20 PM / 5 years ago

Med crude-Urals prices diverge, Azeri strengthens

 LONDON, July 25 (Reuters) - Urals crude prices in North West
Europe edged higher despite a plentiful August programme but
eased in the Mediterranean as more crude arrives from outside
the region and due to a larger August programme.    
 In the Platts window, Rosneft bid for a 100,000 tonne cargo
of Urals up to dated Brent minus 45 cents loading August 6-10.
 Mediterranean Urals prices were said to be around dated
Brent flat, said several traders. The grade is expected to come
under further pressure by additional crude coming to the region
from the Middle East and Latin America, one trader said. 
 More Saudi crude is coming to Europe as the Asian market
absorbs cheap Iranian crude, which is under embargo for EU
refiners since 1 July. 
 China's crude oil imports from Iran rose to their highest in
nearly a year in June despite tough Western sanctions targetting
Iran's oil shipments. 
 China bought about 633,000 barrels per day in June, a fifth,
or 110,000 bpd higher than May. 
 The Urals programme for the south is also expected to be
more plentiful than July once the full programme comes out, as
July loadings were hampered by pipeline maintenance.
 The Novorossiisk tally is smaller though for the first 15
days in August at 1.63 mln tonnes compared with an initial July
programme at 1.7 mln tonnes for the same period.
 The full preliminary programme for North West Europe already
emerged on Wednesday. Exports from Primorsk have been pencilled
at 5.705 million tonnes for the full month August, up from July
at 5.58 mln tonnes. Ust Luga exports are expected to be 1.8 mln
tonnes in August, up from 1.6 mln tonnes in July.
 On sweets, levels on Azeri Light are rising towards dated
Brent plus $4.00, several traders said. Offers were said to be
at or above that level, another trader added. 
 The rise is due to in part to a shorter August loading
programme as well as demand from Indian refiners to replace
Iranian to crude. 
 Kazakh CPC Blend's swift rise could be short-lived.
 "(Prices) are too high compared with standard refining
economics. So my feeling is for lower numbers," said one
Mediterranean refiner. 
 More light sweet West African arriving in Europe is also
expected to put pressure on the market, particularly on sweets,
several sources said. 

 (Reporting by Julia Payne, additional reporting by Gleb
Gorodyankin; Editing by William Hardy)
 
 

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