The Middle East crude market firmed on Tuesday, with the premium for the benchmark Murban crude edging towards a double-digit premium on demand from Thai and Indian refiners.
An Indian refiner bought one cargo of Murban crude for April lifting at a premium of 5-10 cents to Dubai quotes, up from 1-5 cents seen for earlier deals, a trader said.
Taiwan’s Formosa Petrochemical Corporation purchased 1 million barrels of Iraqi Basra Light crude for April, another trader said, although this could not be confirmed. Philippines state refiner Petron was believed to have bought one cargo of Upper Zakum crude for April lifting via a tender. Details of the price were not known.
Brent oil prices will average $110.3 a barrel this year, according to a fresh Reuters monthly oil poll, up from January’s estimate of $107.30. A change of $3 is big in a poll of over 30 analysts, and last happened at the peak of the Libyan war in May.
Japan’s top oil refiner JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation plans to refine 5.89 million kilolitres (1.20 million barrels per day) of crude oil in March for domestic consumption, up 21 per cent from a year earlier, a company executive said on Tuesday.