Moscow — The Urals crude oil market in northwest Europe remained very volatile on Friday, while Caspian CPC Blend and Azeri BTC crude oil grades were under pressure.
* Urals differentials against dated Brent were very unstable on Friday depending on the loading dates of cargoes traded.
* Price gaps between Urals cargoes with different loading dates were very wide due to steep backwardation in Brent contracts for difference (CFDs), traders said.
* Cargoes loading in the end of December – early in January were estimated at just below dated Brent minus $4 per barrel, while cargoes loading later than Jan. 10 traded $1 per barrel firmer, traders said.
* The Urals full loading plan for January is expected to be released early next week.
* CPC Blend and Azeri BTC differentials remained under pressure due to high freight rates and weak refining margins in Europe.
* Russia’s Surgutneftegaz awarded a spot tender on Friday to sell 100,000 tonnes of Urals crude oil for loading from Ust-Luga port on January 6-7 to Italy’s Eni, traders said.
* The cargo was sold at dated Brent close to minus $2.90 per barrel when adding freight to an original free on board (FOB) differential, traders said.
* In the Platts window Trafigura offered 100,000 tonnes of Urals loading on Jan. 7 – 11 at dated Brent minus $2.85 per barrel, but failed to find a buyer.
* At the same time Glencore offered 100,000 tonnes of Urals loading on Dec. 30 – Jan. 3 at dated Brent minus $4.50 per barrel, some $1.40 per barrel lower than the recent estimations, but buyers were not interested.
* Traders said the cargo has prompt loading dates, which affects the price.
* On CPC Blend France’s Total sold a cargo of 100,000 tonnes loading on Jan. 9-13 to Vitol at dated Brent minus $1.90 per barrel.
* At the same time Shell offered a cargo of 90,000 tonnes of CPC Blend loading on Jan. 5-9 at dated Brent minus $2.30 per barrel, but failed to find a buyer.
* On Azeri BTC Litasco tried to place 600,000 barrels of the grade loading on Jan. 7-11 at dated Brent plus $1.80 per barrel, but didn’t find buyers.