Singapore — Four clips of Middle East sour crude -- 500,000 barrels each -- changed hands in Tuesday's Market on Close assessment process in Asia Tuesday, highlighting a deeply discounted spot market for Persian Gulf grades this month.
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The MOC process saw a bid by trading house Gunvor for an April-loading cargo of Das Blend crude, which traded twice before the 4:30 pm Singapore time (0830 GMT) close. Gunvor's first bid traded at a discount of $1.10/b to the Das OSP. Gunvor rebid and raised its price gradually to a discount of $1/b, at which point the bid was sold a second time. Total was the seller on both counts.
Simultaneously, Total also offered a cargo of April-loading Murban in Tuesday's MOC, which it pushed down to a discount of $1.20/b to the Murban OSP. At this price it was picked up by Mercuria. Total did not reoffer for Murban.
The fourth trade occurred when an offer of Upper Zakum by ExxonMobil's was bought by trading house Glencore at a discount of 90 cents/b to the OSP.
The cargoes add up to 2 million barrels of crude traded during Tuesday's MOC.
So far in February, six such cargoes have traded during the MOC, one of which is Upper Zakum, two Murban and three Das Blend. In January a total seven cargoes changed hands via the MOC, when the Middle East sour crude market was in the March-loading cycle.
Additionally, nine partials of April Dubai crude -- equal to 225,000 barrels -- changed hands in the MOC Tuesday. This brings the month's total partial count to 72, one of which is an April Oman partial traded Monday.
Market participants were also keenly awaiting results from Qatar Petroleum's Al-Shaheen tender, which are expected to be announced late Tuesday. The state-owned entity also offered a 500,000-barrel cargo each of Qatar Land and Qatar Marine in this month's tender. The tender closed Monday and is valid until Tuesday.