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Saudi Sep crude loadings to Asia uninterrupted, future cuts likely: survey

Singapore — Saudi Aramco's customers across Asia continued to load September crude oil barrels from the kingdom's facilities over the weekend and on Monday without hassle, they told S&P Global Platts.

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But customers are staying cautious amidst widespread expectation of cuts for September and/or October loading schedules for crude oil flowing to Asia -- Aramco's largest customer base, in the aftermath of the attack on Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities that took out nearly 60% of the kingdom's daily oil production.

Several refiners reported Monday that their loadings for September barrels were proceeding at the moment without any disruptions.

"So far no impact on us yet, we are also communicating with Saudi to see further impact," a North Asian refiner said.

"We had two VLCCS [4 million barrels of oil] loaded during the weekend but no impact," the refiner added.

"No [disruptions] for us, still loading a vessel right now," said a trader based in the Singapore office of a Chinese refiner.

"No delay in berthing for now too, so life as per normal still," the trader added.

"Our supply so far all okay," a Southeast Asian refiner added.

Platts surveyed at least nine refiners across North and Southeast Asia, alongside several other market participants such as crude traders, analysts and sell-side sources.

Aramco said on Sunday it would communicate within 48 hours about the impact of the attack and affected logistics.

"Everyone is waiting for Saudi to speak on how long they will need to fix it," a fourth refiner said.

"No one has any clue of actual situation, we can only wait and see for now," the second source added.

"[We are] discussing [internally] now, should be a big cut for October loadings," a fifth refiner told Platts on Monday morning.

Market talk Monday morning indicated that the impacted facilities were holding largely Arab Light and Arab Extra Light crude oil, suggesting that refineries with contracts for those grades may face the highest impact.

"Mostly it's Arab Light and Arab Extra Light being affected -- Medium/Heavy are okay so far," the second source said.

"Lights will be affected the most," the fifth refiner confirmed.

Aramco's customers in Asia are also awaiting clarity on loadings for next month alongside any updates on cuts for September loadings. A source at PetroChina's 240,000 b/d Guangxi Petrochemical in southern China, which is expecting a VLCC of Saudi crude for late September loading and late October loading, each, said: "We haven't got any update from Saudi Aramco, and not advised on shifting grades yet."

Guangxi each month receives a VLCC of crude from Aramco, co-loaded with Arab Light and Arab Medium.

--Eesha Muneeb, eesha.muneeb@spglobal.com

--Gurdeep Singh, gurdeep.singh@spglobal.com

--Analyst Daisy Xu, daisy.xu@spglobal.com

--Edited by Kshitiz Goliya, kshitizgoliya@spglobal.com