North Sea Forties crude differentials rose on Wednesday as traders pointed to lower supplies in May, and rumours of possible shipments to South Korea.
The May loading programme is down 13 percent month-on-month, offering support to prices, especially as refineries start to return from spring maintenance.
BP sold Chevron a cargo of Forties for loading May 2-4 at dated Brent plus 5 cents, up from the last trade on Thursday at dated Brent minus 15 cents.
A bid from ENI for a late April loading was even higher, but failed to find any offers.
Traders are also eyeing a possible VLCC cargo to South Korea in late April, but many have expressed doubts it will sail.
Shipping fixtures on Monday showed the Phoenix Vanguard had been chosen by Shell for a shipment to South Korea, departing around April 24.
The ship is now just north of the Canary Islands off northwest Africa. Shell also nominated the Phoenix Vanguard for a similar shipment in March but this didn't go ahead.
Traders also said there was a rumour that a Suezmax to South Korea might be booked for May, when the VLCC jetty at Hound Point will be closed for maintenance.
BP sold a cargo of Forties for loading May 2-4 at dated Brent plus 5 cents in the Platts price assessment window.
ENI bid for Forties for loading April 25-30 at dated Brent plus 10 cents, but found no offers.
The last trade came on Thursday at dated minus 15 cents for April 17-19 Forties.
(Reporting by David Sheppard; Editing by David Evans)