Russian Urals crude price differentials strengthened slightly on Tuesday in the Mediterranean while hovering near their weakest in 17 months in the Baltic due to abundant supplies.
In the Platts window, Glencore offered a Nov 13-17 Urals cargo in the Baltic at dated Brent minus $3.05 a barrel and Vitol a Nov 15-19 cargo at minus $2.80, but found no bidders as the asking prices were seen as too ambitious, traders said.
In the Mediterranean, Trafigura bid for a 23-27 Nov Aframax cargo at dated Brent minus $1.95 a barrel, some 30 cents stronger than previous price estimates.
But its bid generated no interest as Vitol was seeking prices as strong as dated Brent minus $1.70 for a Nov 17-21 Aframax and dated Brent minus $1.85 for a larger Nov 18-22 Suezmax.
Urals differentials in the Baltic have been under pressure in recent weeks due to plentiful supplies of the Russian grade and competing barrels such as Iraqi Basrah and Saudi Arabian barrels.
The volumes of Urals have been much shorter in the Mediterranean but a wide open arbitrage has brought as many as a dozen cargoes from the Baltic to Europe's south, thus helping to narrow the gap.
Meanwhile, traders in Urals swaps said values in the Mediterranean were seen rangebound for the next weeks, while some strengthening was expected in the Baltic.
Urals November swaps were assessed at dated Brent minus $1.90 in the Mediterranean and at dated Brent minus $2.90 in the Baltic.
In other grades, Libya
has closed the export terminal at its eastern port of Zueitina
and declared force majeure on crude oil loadings, market sources said on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)