SINGAPORE, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Refiner Thai Oil has bought North Sea Forties crude for the first time to reduce oil feedstock costs after prices for Middle East and Asia-Pacific supply surged, sources with knowledge of the matter said on Monday.
Thailand has joined China and South Korea in becoming buyers of Forties, the largest crude stream that underpins Brent.
Asia's strong demand for Forties in September-October has supported Brent prices during peak refinery maintenance season in Europe. The trade became more viable following a fall in Brent's premium over Dubai crude and as spot premiums for Middle East and Asia-Pacific supply surged to multi-month highs.
"We saw quite a fair bit of Murban buyers in Asia turning to North Sea crude," a crude buyer in Asia said. "Japan's buying West Africa grades was also evidence of that."
Thai Oil has bought about 500,000 barrels of Forties from Unipec, the trading arm of Asia's largest refiner Sinopec , the sources said.
The oil will be discharged from Very Large Crude Carrier Marbat, which left Hound Point with Forties in September for Yangpu in China, the sources said. (Additional reporting by Claire Milhench in LONDON; Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)