Total buys North Sea Forties crude oil
LONDON: Total SA bought a cargo of North Sea Forties crude from Statoil ASA while Trafigura Beheer BV offered a consignment without completing any deals.
Total said it purchased the Dec. 21 to Dec. 23 shipment at a 15-cent discount to Dated Brent benchmark. Trafigura offered a cargo loading on Dec. 24 to Dec. 26 at a premium of 15 cents over Dated, according to traders involved in North Sea transactions.
Reported North Sea market activity typically occurs during a trading window that ends daily at 4:30 p.m. in London. Prior to the window, Forties crude loading from 10 to 21 days in the future cost 20 cents more than Dated Brent, from 7 cents the previous day. Yesterday was the first time Forties has been at a premium to Dated since Oct. 6.
Brent crude for January settlement traded at $90.80 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange at the close of the window, up from $89.55 a barrel at the same time yesterday. The February contract traded at $90.83 a barrel. The price spread between the two nearest-term contracts reversed to 3 cents from minus 4 cents yesterday. The frontmonths were backwardated yesterday, the first time the contract closest to expiry was more expensive than the following month since October.
Statoil, Norway's biggest oil and gas producer, has decided to resume drilling and well operations at the Gullfaks field in the North Sea after halting activity on Nov. 10 to conduct a safety review.
Statoil carried out a "detailed review" of its planned drilling and well operations on the field after pressure in a well on its Gullfaks C platform destabilized on May 19, causing an evacuation and a two-month production halt, it said in an emailed statement yesterday. Findings made and measures adopted after drilling stopped on Nov. 10 have been presented to the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority, the company said. -
Morteover, nalysts surveyed by Bloomberg News were split over the direction of crude oil prices next week amid signals the U.S. economic recovery is accelerating while stockpiles climb.
Ten of 28 analysts, or 36 percent, forecast crude will advance through Dec. 10. Ten more respondents predicted that futures will be steady. Eight said there will be a decline. Last week, 42 percent of analysts expected the market to be little changed. The number of Americans signing contacts to buy previously owned homes increased a record 10 percent in October, the National Association of Realtors said yesterday in Washington. The number of applications for jobless benefits averaged 431,000 a week over the month ended Nov. 27, the lowest level since August 2008, Labor Department figures showed yesterday. "The U.S. does look like it's improving, I feel that it's on the road to recovery," said Jonathan Barratt, managing director of Commodity Broking Services Pty in Sydney. "The fundamental picture also shows that we're still getting an increase in inventories."
U.S. crude oil supplies increased 1.07 million barrels to 359.7 million in the week ended Nov. 26, an Energy Department report showed Dec. 1. Stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for New York futures, increased 910,000 barrels to 34.5 million. Crude oil futures for January delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange have surged $4.24, or 5.1 percent, to $88 a barrel so far this week. Prices are up 15 percent from a year ago. The oil survey has correctly predicted the direction of futures 47 percent of the time since its start in April 2004. -Bloomberg