The Middle East crude market strengthened on Monday, as Abu Dhabi and Bahrain’s grades traded at higher premiums than previous deals.
Demand has been strong this month, with winter buying from north Asian refiners supporting prices, while strength in the Dubai market has also pushed prices higher, traders said.
January Banoco Arab Marine was traded at about a 40 cents premium to the official selling price. The crude last month traded at a slight discount to OSP.
January Murban traded at a 40-45 cents premium to OSP, up from last week’s 20 cent premium.
Royal Dutch Shell continued to drive demand, buying four January Dubai partials at $108.35 per barrel. Phibro sold three partials, while SK Energy sold a fourth. Phibro will deliver one Upper Zakum cargo to Shell after selling 19 Dubai partials to the firm this month.
An oil spill at an ExxonMobil facility offshore from the Niger Delta has spread at least 20 miles from its source, coating waters used by fishermen in a film of sludge. The price of oil rose to $88 a barrel on Monday as the conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas showed no signs of abating, raising concerns about Middle East crude supplies.