CRUDE MOC: Medium sour crude offered lower in Thursday’s MOC
Cash Dubai and Oman spread structures moved lower in Thursday’s Market on Close assessment process for Middle East sour crude, alongside a 500,000 barrel cargo of Upper Zakum that was offered at deep discounts for April loading
The April Dubai cash/futures spread fell back into a contango of minus 3 cents/b, demonstrated by offers on Dubai partials during the MOC. An offer for April Oman partials also demonstrated value lower for the grade day on day, at parity to April Dubai futures.
The April Dubai spread had momentarily lifted out of contango to a small premium of 5 cents/b on Wednesday at the close, but a low-demand environment saw market bears returning toward the end of the week.
Similarly, Oman’s premium of 13 cents/b over Dubai futures, assessed Wednesday at 4:30 pm in Singapore (0830 GMT), fell by Thursday.
“Mars now landing cheaper than Oman,” said a Singapore-based crude buyer.
The US crude is often compared with Oman due to its medium sour quality, and can be used as an alternative by some refiners in Asia.
Demand sentiment in Asia maintained at multi-month lows, with sellers complaining of a “dead” market, and lowering offers for April-loading sour crude cargoes into deeper discounts by the day.
ExxonMobil showed an offer for an April-loading Upper Zakum cargo in Thursday’s MOC, following other companies that offered light sour crudes in deep negatives earlier this week.
Exxon’s offer for the medium sour grade moved down to a discount of 65 cents/b near the end of the MOC, without any buyers in sight. Platts assessed the Upper Zakum spot differential at a discount of 70 cents/b under its OSP on Thursday.
The Murban differential was assessed at minus 85 cents/b to its OSP, while Das Blend stood at minus 90 cents/b, reflecting a trade for the light sour crude in Wednesday’s MOC.