North Sea crude premiums held strong on Tuesday, supported by solid demand from Shell, and traders said the market for June-loading cargos could remain strong due to tighter supply.
Loading programmes for North Sea crude in June have started to be issued this week and traders say summer maintenance work at oilfields and other infrastructure could tighten supplies.
"That could keep differentials supported," said one.
Output at the Buzzard oilfield appears to have recovered after a cutback last month, which trimmed supply of Forties and led to a spate of loading delays for cargoes in April and May.
The field was pumping at normal rate of around 200,000 barrels per day on Tuesday, an industry source said.
Shell bid for a Forties cargo loading on May 23-26 at dated Brent plus 90 cents, unchanged from a similar bid on Friday, and the highest differential since February according to Reuters data.
Eni offered a Forties loading on May 29-31 at dated plus $1.20, up 5 cents from its offer on Friday.
A number of programs were circulating in the market on Tuesday, including:
DUC: Two cargoes will load in June. A trader thought the relatively low number of cargoes was due to maintenance.
Statfjord, Gullfaks: Four cargos of each grade will load in June.
Troll: Twelve cargos will load in June.
(Reporting by Alex Lawler; Editing by William Hardy)