April 5, 2012 / 1:52 PM / 5 years ago

Med Crude-Urals stronger in Baltic, demand picks up

LONDON, April 5 (Reuters) - Russian sour Urals crude
differentials strengthened in northwest Europe on Thursday
because of an expected resurgence in demand later in April when
refiners ramp up processing, traders said.	
    "I think the market expects refineries to come back after
maintenance", said a trader, "Quite a bit of capacity coming
back on line".	
    In the Baltic, Vitol sold a 100,000 tonnes Urals cargo to
Statoil loading April 15-19 at minus $2.80 to dated Brent, some
50 cents stronger than previous price indications. Vitol has a
few spare cargoes left, which could be offered next week, one
trader said.	
    In the Mediterranean, a shortage of small Urals cargoes
continued to push prices higher, traders said.	
    In the Platts window, Total returned with a bid for an
80,000 tonnes Urals cargo loading April 16-20 at dated Brent
minus $2.20 per barrel cif Mediterranean but found no sellers,
traders said.	
    The French major was bidding for a cargo in dates when
Russia's main Black Sea port of Novorossiisk will load no
cargoes, possibly due to a maintenance.	
    Vitol continued to offer its 85,000 tonnes CPC Blend cargo
in the window at minus $1.00 to dated Brent without finding a
buyer, traders said. Lingering April Libyan cargoes were still
weighing on sweet grades.	
    In tender news, Poland's PKN Orlen awarded two Urals tenders
with Gunvor winning a cargo loading April 19-21 for PKN's
Butinge refinery in Lithuania.	
    The level was believed to be around minus $3.00 to dated
Brent, according to a trader. The winner of the April 22-24
loading cargo, also for Butinge, did not emerge. 	
    Statoil sold its 1 million barrel end of April cargo of
Azeri Light earlier this week into the Mediterranean.	
    The May loading programme for Azeri Light is expected to
emerge by Monday, several traders said. Iraqi and Iranian
official selling prices are also expected to be published next
week. 	
    In Iraqi news, the bombing on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline
did not affect exports of Iraq's Kirkuk grade as the Turkish
port of Ceyhan had crude in storage. 	
    Only one of the two pipes was hit and flows resumed in early
afternoon from Iraq, according to a spokesman for Iraq's oil
ministry.	
	
 (Reporting by Julia Payne; Editing by Anthony Barker)

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