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North Sea Crude-Forties slips, April loadings to rise
March 7, 2013 / 5:26 PM / 5 years ago

North Sea Crude-Forties slips, April loadings to rise

* Forties trades at dated minus 35 cents
    * April BFOE loadings set at 820,000 bpd
    * Brent pipeline system restarts

    LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) - North Sea Forties crude
differentials slipped on Thursday as the market struggled to
clear unsold March cargoes in the face of weak European refinery
demand as April loading programmes emerged and Brent flows began
to come back.
    Twenty cargoes of Forties are set to load in April or about
400,000 barrels-per-day (bpd), up from 368,000 bpd in March.
    The remaining March cargoes are clearing slowly because
European refiners are in peak maintenance season, which is
weighing on Forties differentials.
    In total, the four benchmark North Sea crude oil streams are
set to pump around 820,000 barrels per day (bpd) in April, down
from the 871,000 bpd originally scheduled to load in March.
 However, the picture is complicated by a number
of Ekofisk cargoes being delayed into April. 
    The Brent pipeline system began a restart after its second
shutdown in almost two months. The 80,000 bpd
system was shut on Saturday after more oil was found to have
leaked into a leg of the 10,000 bpd Cormorant Alpha platform. 
    Total has also been given clearance to restart its
Elgin gas field, which usually pumps about 60,000 barrels of
light oil a day. 
    However, full output is not expected for at least several
months as Total needs to redesign the installation. "I think it
will be low production into Forties," a trader said. 

    * Statoil bought a Forties cargo loading on March 22-24 from
Mercuria at dated minus 35 cents. 
    * This was down from Friday's last known Forties deal for a
March 19-21 cargo. This traded at May BFOE plus 70 cents, which
was roughly equivalent to dated plus 5 cents. 
    * Statoil offered a March 24-26 cargo at dated plus 10
cents, unchanged from Wednesday, and Trafigura offered a March
27-29 cargo at dated plus 15 cents. 
    * Phibro bid for cargoes loading around March 22-26, ending
at dated minus 65 cents. This is down from its last bid at dated
minus 40 cents for similar dates on Wednesday.  

    * Two more cargoes from Ekofisk's March loading programme
have been delayed into April, according to trade sources. The
total number deferred into April currently stands at five.
    * The latest deferrals are for a BP cargo, originally set to
load on March 23, and an Exxon Mobil cargo from March 3. The
entire Ekofisk March schedule has slipped several days because
of production problems with the Ekofisk stream. 
    * April's official Ekofisk loading schedule begins with a
cargo loading on April 13 as the delayed cargoes need to be
accommodated first. 
    * The swaps curve was not available as of 1700 GMT. Please
check page for further updates.

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