Kuwait ups Jan OSP, Iraq keeps it steady Premiums seen under pressure

SINGAPORE, Dec 10, (RTRS): Demand for January loading cargoes in the Middle East crude market is expected to remain firm on winter buying and on early signs of a pickup in Asia’s top consumer China, traders and analysts said on Monday.  China’s oil demand grew at its fastest pace in two years to a record 10.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in November, and its crude imports rose to 5.69 million barrels per day, the second highest daily rate on record. “According to our forecasts, we expect around 560,000 b/d of additional refining capacity in China this year with most scheduled to come online over the course of this quarter,” JBC Energy said in a report.

Premiums may however be under pressure after top producers increased their official selling prices (OSP) for the region by a higher margin than expected.

* Kuwait has set its official selling price (OSP) for crude sold to Asian buyers for January at 65 cents a barrel above the average of Oman/Dubai quotes, up 35 cents from December.

* Iraq left its January price of Basra light crude to Asia unchanged at a premium of 5 cents a barrel to the average of Oman/Dubai quotes.

* Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude exporter, will supply full contracted volumes of crude oil to at least one Asian term buyer in January, unchanged from December, an industry source familiar with the matter said on Monday.

* South Korean refiners will cut imports of Iranian crude during the six months to May by about a fifth from a year earlier, to avoid sanctions by Washington, government and industry sources told Reuters on Monday.

* Russian oil producer Taas Yuryakh Neftegazodobycha (TYNGD) aims to start crude production at its field in East Siberia in May next year and export it to Asia via the Kozmino port, a senior company official said on Monday.

* Top oil trader Vitol has apologised to the Iraqi government for buying Kurdish oil that was exported via Turkey without Baghdad’s permission, Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul-Kareem Luaibi said on Sunday.

* Azeri oil exports from the Turkish port of Ceyhan have been set at 19.8 million barrels for January, slightly higher than the 19.4 million in December, trading sources said on Monday.

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