Saudi Arabia will likely raise the official selling price (OSP) differentials for Asia for December, to reflect an October premium in the spread between two Dubai benchmarks that it is using to calculate selling prices for its crudes, traders surveyed by S&P Global Platts said on Monday.
According to five traders polled by Platts, Saudi Aramco will probably lift the price differentials for the Arab Light, Medium and Heavy crude grades by between US$0.70 and US$1.20 per barrel.
The spread between the cash Dubai crude and Dubai crude swaps has been a premium of US$0.06 per barrel so far this month, versus a discount of US$0.87 per barrel last month.
Earlier this month, the Saudis had lowered the official selling prices for November for their various grades to various geographies, including to Asia and to Europe.
According to traders surveyed by Platts, other Middle East exporters, including the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC), would also increase prices for December for Asia.
However, several arbitrage cargoes of light sweet European crude are expected to dock in Asia in December, the traders noted.
“The big Middle East producers must make moderate price hikes only. I am sure Aramco and ADNOC are aware of the rival grades coming here,” Platts quoted a trader with a Japanese refiner as saying.
The market may also see additional supply of Saudi crude oil as the country has scheduled maintenance at two of its largest refineries later this year. The 550,000-bpd Ras Tanura refinery is expected to shut for scheduled maintenance between early December and the middle of January next year, traders say.
In addition, Asian crude consumers are currently negotiating new deals for next year, and some end users in North Asia hope that Middle East exporters would offer sweet deals after the prices have recovered from the lows of the first quarter this year, market sources told Platts.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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