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Middle East Crude-Dubai, Murban advance; US sanctions price cap violators

Middle East crude benchmarks Dubai and Murban rose on Friday, supported by robust trades on the Platts window and fresh sanctions by Washington on Russian oil.

The U.S. Treasury Department said on Thursday it had put sanctions on three entities based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and one tanker registered by Liberia for violating a cap placed on the price of Russian oil by a coalition of Western nations.

In a statement, the Treasury Department said it had imposed sanctions on three UAE-based entities – Zeenit Supply and Trading DMCC, Talassa Shipping DMCC and Oil Tankers SCF Mgmt FZCO – and on Liberia-registered oil tanker NS Leader.

The Afram3ax tanker, NS Leader, is set to load Urals crude from Russia’s Primorsk port next week and is destined for India’s Sikka port, according to Kpler data.

Tougher sanctions on breaching pricecap could deter buyers from buying high-quality Russian crude oil that is assessed above $60 a barrel.

Indian refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp BPCL.NS (BPCL) is avoiding purchases of Russian Sokol crude oil and is relying mostly on Urals, as payments are not being cleared by intermediate banks, a company source said on Thursday.

Several tankers that were meant to deliver Sokol crude to India were diverted after Washington in December imposed sanctions on ships and vessel operators carrying Russian oil sold above the $60 per barrel cap set by the Group of Seven nations.

But trading sources said some Indian refiners resumed the purchase of Sokol crude as they have managed to resolve payment issues.

A tanker loaded with Sokol crude, Jaguar, wasdischarged at Vadinar refinery in India earlier this week, according to Kpler data.

Singapore markets closed early on account of a public holiday on Monday.

ASIAN REFINERIES

A spokesperson of Idemitsu confirmed on Friday that the company had shut the Aichi CDU on Feb. 6 due to technical trouble with peripheral equipment, but declined to elaborate further.

The timing of the restart of the unit has not been decided, he said, while adding that the refiner would ensure supply is not disrupted by inventory adjustments and transfers from other refineries in the group.

SINGAPORE CASH DEALS

Cash Dubai’s premium to swaps rose 21 cents to $1.10 per barrel.

Vitol and Total will each deliver one April-loading Murban crude cargo to PetroChina following the trades.

Unipec will deliver one Murban cargo to Trafigura, while ExxonMobil will deliver one Oman crude cargo to Mitsui.

NEWS

Major U.S. fuelmakers beat Wall Street’s earnings expectations in the fourth quarter on strong refining margins and operating performance, and they predicted profits would rise again this year thanks to global demand growth.

Azeri BTC crude oil exports from Turkey’s Ceyhan port have been set at 17.03 million barrels for March compared to 15.88 million barrels in February plan, a loading schedule showed on Thursday.

A fire broke out at the Ilsky oil refinery in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region, which was put out within one hour, regional authorities said in a statement without giving any further details on an impact, if any, on the refinery’s output.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Muyu Xu; Editing by Eileen Soreng)

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