New York — Benchmark cash Dubai premium against Dubai futures rebounded at the Asian close March 29 amid slow trading activity for May-loading barrels, as the focus now shifts to the upcoming OPEC+ meeting on April 1.
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S&P Global Platts assessed May cash Dubai at a premium of $1.16/b to the same-month Dubai futures at the 4.30pm Singapore close on March 29, up 20 cents/b from close on March 26.
May cash Oman was also rose to a premium of $1.46/b to same-month Dubai futures, up 35 cents/b from close on March 26.
The OPEC+ alliance is scheduled to meet on April 1 to discuss their production cuts for May, which the market widely expects to be rolled over from April.
"After last month [production cut rollover], the market seemed tight, but towards the end of the month, the market atmosphere started changing [and was] not so tight," said a trader based with a North Asian refinery.
An oversupply of arbitrage barrels, especially from West Africa, contributed to the increased length in the market, resulting in many unsold cargoes with few keen buyers, according to market sources.
Differentials for West African cargoes were heard adjusting downwards on a delivered basis in order to increase their competitiveness with the crudes from the Middle East, as sellers were eager to clear the cargoes they were holding on to.
"Now, West African [crude] FOB level is still high. For next trading cycle, FOB level will come down from positive to negative levels," said another trader from a North Asian refinery.
Amid the availability of arbitrage barrels and fragile recovery of demand as several regions, such as India, battle a resurgence of COVID-19, OPEC+ and Saudi Arabia are unlikely to increase production, sources said.
The Platts Market on Close assessment process saw a total of two May Dubai partials of 25,000-barrels and seven Oman partials traded.
The Dubai and Oman partials were traded with Trafigura and Vitol on the sell side and BP and Shell on the buy side.
The Oman partials were all traded with PetroChina on the sell side and Unipec on the buy side.
Unipec declares a cargo of May Oman crude to PetroChina following the convergence of 20 partials in Platts cash Oman.
This is the second convergence in Platts cash Oman between the same counterparties for May Oman crude cargo this month.