July 11, 2017 / 4:48 PM / a year ago

Med Crude-Urals differentials in NWE hit 31-month highs

MOSCOW, July 11 (Reuters) - Urals crude differentials in northwest Europe rose on Tuesday to the highest level since November 2014 on high demand and limited availability of cargoes loading late in July, as the deal by OPEC, Russia and other countries to cut output limited supply of sour grades in the region, traders said.

In the Platts window BP bought from Socar 100,000 tonnes of Urals for July 25-29 loading at dated Brent minus $0.65 a barrel, traders said. That was up by 10 cents from Monday.

There was no activity for Urals, Azeri BTC, CPC Blend and Siberian Light in the Mediterranean in the afternoon trading session.

Kazakh state oil company Kazmunaigaz plans to replace expensive Urals crude with cheaper Mediterranean grades for its refineries in Romania, traders said.

Usually, KMG ships all its share of Urals from Novorossiisk to its majority-owned subsidiary Rompetrol Rafinare, which owns the Petromidia refinery, Vega refinery and Rompetrol Petrochemicals.

But Urals in the Mediterranean BFO-URL-E has been trading close to two-year highs for two months on limited supply, while ample loadings of light Caspian barrels, CPC Blend and Azeri BTC, have brought differentials of these grades close to historical lows, Reuters data shows.

It is more profitable to sell high-price Urals on the spot market and to refine other regional grades, traders said.

Kazakh state oil company KazMunaiGaz awarded Urals crude oil from Novorossiysk in July-December 2017 to two trading firms, BB Energy and Litasco, traders said.

KazMunaiGaz offered tender participants up to three cargoes monthly of 80,000 to 140,000 tonnes of Urals crude oil in July-December this year.

OPEC oil output rose in June by more than 300,000 barrels per day (bpd), according to figures the exporter group uses to monitor its supply, as a recovery in two nations exempt from a supply cut deal countered high compliance by many others.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to cut output by about 1.2 million bpd from Jan. 1 to reduce a glut and support prices. Russia and 10 other non-OPEC states agreed to cut half as much.

Including Nigeria and Libya, which are exempt from the deal, output by all 13 OPEC members in June rose to about 32.47 million bpd, according to the average assessments of secondary sources OPEC uses to monitor its output. The figures were seen by Reuters.

That would be up 330,000 bpd from OPEC’s published May figure. (Reporting by Gleb Gorodyankin; editing by Susan Thomas) ))

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