MOSCOW, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Urals crude oil differentials surged on Friday with cargoes in the Mediterranean moved to premiums against dated Brent as an oil blockade in Libya made buyers look for a prompt replacement for absent barrels.
* Oil output in Libya has been plunging since Jan. 18 because of a blockade of ports and fields by groups loyal to eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar, falling to current levels from about 1.2 million bpd before the stoppage.
* Libyan crude oil outage supported Urals values especially for prompt cargoes - loading in mid-February, traders said. Some buyers hoped for blockade to be lifted till the last minute and had to replace barrels immediately, they added.
* Urals margins rebound from negative zone to an average of plus $1.14 per barrel for the last five days, Refinitiv Eikon data showed, which also supported the grade’s values.
* Caspian CPC Blend and Azeri BTC crude oil grades were also supported due to overall increased demand for crude oil in Mediterranean, traders said.
* Shell bid for 80,000 tonnes of Urals crude oil for loading from Balck Sea’s Novorossiisk on Feb. 15-19 at dated Brent plus $0.60 per barrel, which was some $1 per barrel firmer than the last estimations, but failed to find a seller.
* Shell also bid for 100,000 tonnes of Urals for loading from Baltic ports on Feb. 14-18 at dated Brent minus $1.05 per barrel, some 20 cents firmer than on Thursday, but the bid did not sparkle selling interest.
* On CPC Blend BP bid for 85,000 tonnes of the grade for loading on Feb. 21-25 at dated Brent minus $1.10 per barrel, which was some 20 cents per barrel firmer than the recent price levels, but didn’t find a seller.
* There were no bids or offers for Azeri BTC in the Platts window on Friday.
* The United States on Friday will lift sanctions on at least one Dalian unit of Chinese tanker company COSCO, which Washington accused of transporting Iranian oil, a U.S. official with knowledge of the matter said.
* A coronavirus outbreak in China could cut oil demand by over 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the first quarter of this year and drag on oil prices already beleaguered by oversupply, analysts and traders say. (Reporting by Olga Yagova; editing by Grant McCool)