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North Sea Crude-Ample supply weighs on Forties diffs
March 20, 2013 / 5:52 PM / 5 years ago

North Sea Crude-Ample supply weighs on Forties diffs

* Forties trades at dated minus 15 cents
    * Three April cargoes advanced on strong output
    * Shell endorses Platts escalator plans

    LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - North Sea Forties crude oil
differentials remained under pressure on Wednesday as
better-than-expected production forced three advancements in the
April programme. 
    Three Forties cargoes loading in April were said to have
been pushed up the schedule by between three and five days,
leading some traders to suggest extra cargoes might be inserted
at the back end of the programme. 
    Strong output from Buzzard, Britain's largest oilfield, and
the return of Total's Elgin-Franklin field earlier in
March, have boosted Forties supply.
    Meanwhile, some traders said an Ekofisk cargo had been
dropped from the April programme due to problems at Valhall,
which came onstream earlier this year. 
    Ekofisk loadings have been severely disrupted in March,
pushing five cargoes into April. 
    Royal Dutch Shell endorsed changes announced by oil
pricing agency Platts to the way it assesses the Brent market,
avoiding a damaging split. 
    Both will now set quality premiums for Oseberg at 50
percent, draw on two months of price data weighed in the same
way and will not apply a premium to Brent.
    * Two cargoes traded in the afternoon window. Shell bought a
Forties cargo loading on April 14-16 from Vitol, at dated Brent
minus 15 cents. This was in line with its last bid on Tuesday
for a cargo loading around April 3-7.
    * Shell also bought a cargo from BP for April 3-5 loading
dates at May cash BFOE minus 70 cents.    
    * On Monday, Shell bought a March 30-April 1 Forties cargo
from BP at dated Brent minus 40 cents and an April 8-12 Forties
cargo from Vitol at dated minus 10 cents.
    * Traders and shipping fixtures have linked Shell to up to
three VLCCs to take Forties to South Korea departing between
mid-March and mid-April, one of which appears to have loaded. 
    * The front of the swaps curve remained in contango,
reflecting the plentiful supply of crude.
    25-28/3 June -0.21
     2-5/4  June  Flat
     8-12/4 June +0.07
    15-19/4 June +0.11
    22-26/4 June +0.08
    29-03/5 June +0.01

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