Asia-Pacific Crude-Weaker; ONGC sells Sokol

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

February 24, 2014

By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Florence Tan, Reuters

The Asia-Pacific crude market weakened on Monday with differentials for Russian Sokol depressed by slow demand during peak maintenance season, but a recovery in the naphtha market offset some of the losses.

India's ONGC sold 700,000 barrels of light sweet Sokol crude for May 1-4 loading to Glencore at $7.50 per barrel above Oman/Dubai quotes on a cost and freight (CFR) basis, traders said.

The company last sold Sokol for April loading at a premium of $8.50 per barrel.

Sentiment in the crude market has weakened with many regional refiners undergoing maintenance, however, slight gains in the naphtha and middle distillate markets were supportive.

Brent-Dubai Exchange of Futures for Swaps (EFS) <DUB-EFS-1M>, or Brent's premium to Dubai swaps, widened 11 cents to $4.01 per barrel.

* TENDERS

Indonesia's Petral bought 600,000 barrels of Azeri Light for April 15-20 arrival in a tender. That brings the company's crude imports for April arrival to about 5.6 million barrels.

* MARKET NEWS

China's commercial crude oil inventories rose 3.57 percent over December in January following record high imports, breaking a three-month sequence of stock drawdowns, the official news agency Xinhua said on Monday.

Some Libyan government ministries are struggling to cover expenditures because of budget problems, a minister said on Sunday after protesters shut down another vital oilfield in the OPEC producer.

South Sudan has reversed a plan by local authorities to partially shut down oil production and evacuate foreign workers in its main oil-producing region after it was hit by the worst fighting since a January ceasefire.

A force majeure on Angola's Plutonio grade of crude oil has been lifted, a spokesman at operator BP said on Friday.

(Editing by Keiron Henderson)

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