London — Exports of Kazakhstan's CPC Blend crude oil outside Europe reached a record of 14 million barrels in September, traders said, on healthy demand from Asian refiners and favorable crude spreads between Brent and Dubai swaps.
CPC Blend is exported by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium from the oil fields of western Kazakhstan where it is produced to Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiisk.
CPC Blend has an API of 45.3 and a sulfur content of 0.56%. Typical exports outside Europe are 10 million-11 million barrels/month.
"We are seeing a record amount of entries in the East for August and September, with arrivals in India, China, South Korea and Japan," said a source who counted the export tally at 14 million barrels.
The outlet to Asia has been a relief for sellers given the supply glut in the Mediterranean, awash with unsold volumes of oil with similar qualities from nearby producers and turning the market into a buyers' one.
"There is so much CPC going east, Suezmax rates are becoming expensive," a second trader said.
On paper in early August, ample availability of Dubai cargoes pushed the Dubai swaps market into contango, narrowing the spread to Brent and improving the rationale for Asian buyers to lift offers pricing off of Brent.
The difference between Dubai and Brent futures -- known as the Exchange of Futures for Swaps -- was trading in August at its lowest point in the year so far, below $1/b, acting as a catalyst for European sellers to book Asian bids.
Looking at the current market however, the EFS has widened and CPC cargo differentials to Dated Brent have firmed, reducing arbitrage margins from west to east.
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