SINGAPORE, Dec 8 (Reuters) - The spot premium for February-loading Russian Sokol crude has dropped to the lowest in at least three years, following a rise in production.
The additional output came online at a time when global oil prices are trading close to their lowest in five years, after producer grouping OPEC decided to maintain production despite an oversupplied market.
Indian explorer ONGC sold a 700,000-barrel cargo to South Korean refiner SK Energy at $2.60 a barrel above Oman/Dubai quotes via a tender, traders said on Monday.
This is equivalent to about $3 a barrel above Dubai quotes, down by more than half from a year ago and the lowest premium SOK-DUB since Dec. 2011, when Reuters' record started.
Production at Sakhalin-1 increased late this year, leading to a rise in Sokol exports, traders said.
Nine cargoes of Sokol were sold for loading in January 2015, up from a monthly average of about seven for most of 2014, traders said.
There could be up to 10 cargoes available every month later next year depending on production rates at the new fields, they added.
Sokol crude is produced from Sakhalin-1 which is developing three oil and gas fields, Chayvo, Odoptu, and Arkutun-Dagi, located off the northeastern coast of Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East, operator ExxonMobil says on its website.
Exxon's partners include Japanese consortium Sodeco, with a 30 percent stake, India's state-run ONGC, which holds a fifth, and Rosneft, which controls the remainder. (Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)