Middle East crude markets remained weak on Monday as traders shifted attention to the June-loading programme. Traders are expecting to see prices pressured by previously unsold May barrels and a higher flow of supplies from Russia.
“There is enough oil in the market ...we don’t expect to see any upward push on prices for Middle East grades at the moment,” a trader said.
Abu Dhabi’s June-loading Murban crude was valued at around 5-10 cents over the official selling price, similar to levels discussed the previous week.
Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani said most oil produced in the country’s autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan is being smuggled across borders, mainly to Iran, instead of fulfilling its export obligations.
South African crude oil imports from Iran leapt in February to $364 million from zero the preceding month, customs data showed on Monday, dashing the view that Pretoria has bowed to US pressure to curb commercial links with Tehran.
French oil company Total, which wants to fly experts to a North Sea oil platform to plan how to cap a well that has been spewing gas for the past week, will discuss the safety of the scheme with British experts on Monday.