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Saudi Arabia Is Expected to Raise Its Oil Prices to Asia to a 5-Month High

Saudi Arabia is likely to raise the price of its flagship Arab Light crude loading for Asia in June to the highest premium over benchmarks as the Middle Eastern quotes have strengthened this month, a Reuters survey of seven refining sources showed on Monday.  

Saudi Aramco, the world’s top crude oil exporter, could raise later this week the price of Arab Light for Asia in June by $0.70-$0.90 to nearly a $3.00 a barrel premium over the Oman/Dubai average, the benchmark off which Middle Eastern crude going to Asia is priced, according to the survey.

This would be the third consecutive month of rising official selling prices (OSPs) from the Saudis and the highest premium of Arab Light to Oman/Dubai since January this year.

Last month, Aramco raised the official selling price of Arab Light for Asia for May by $0.30 per barrel to a premium of $2.00 over the Oman/Dubai average.

Robust margins and tighter supply due to the OPEC+ cuts could also prompt the Kingdom to raise the OSPs of its heavier crudes, Arab Medium, and Arab Heavy, in lockstep with the price of Arab Light, most respondents in the Reuters survey said.

The market has tightened after Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) started sending its medium sour grade Upper Zakum for processing at a local refinery at the end of 2023, releasing more volumes of the sweeter, lighter, and more expensive, Murban crude for exports.

But Mexico has changed a plan to curb oil exports as fires at two Pemex refineries have affected local demand for the commodity. This has eased concerns about super-tight supply.

Saudi Arabia typically announces around the fifth of each month its crude pricing for the following month and doesn’t comment on price changes. Many other Middle Eastern exporters usually follow the pricing trends of the Saudi oil giant, so the Kingdom’s decisions on crude prices to Asia affect much of the supply from the Middle East.  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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