Saudi Aramco has lifted its price to Asia for its flagship crude oil grade, Arab Light, to $4.95 a barrel premium over Oman/Dubai crude, off which Middle Eastern producers price their oil going to Asia, the oil company said on Friday.
It is the largest differential for Arab Light ever and a daring move for the world’s largest crude oil exporter.
The increase in price for Arab Light to Asia next month is a staggering $2.15 per barrel.
Aramco also raised the OSP of Arab Light to Europe and the United States, at premiums to $1.60 per barrel to ICE Brent, and $3.45 over the Argus Sour Crude Index, respectively.
The price increase comes as no surprise. Brent crude prices have increased $17 a barrel in the last week alone, and the Asian oil market has grown exceptionally tight as buyers there look for more and more oil from the Middle East as some have grown wary of purchasing Russian crude oil.
Saudi Arabia typically sets the pricing trends for the other Middle Eastern oil producers and is seen as a bellwether for which way the market is heading, and is interpreted as a signal that Saudi Arabia believes oil demand will remain strong, and will continue to tighten.
Saudi Arabia has increased more than just Arab Light. The price for all Saudi crude grades to Asia will increase for April, as well as all Saudi crude grades to the United States and Europe.
The price increases come as OPEC+ met earlier this week and determined that no additional output increase was necessary to stabilize the market, agreeing to an output increase of 400,000 bpd as previously planned.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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