In the LOOP: Drop in US crude freight rates entices Asian buyers

US light sweet crudes such as WTI Midland and Bakken have been offered into Asia at lower premiums in recent months amid a drop in freight rates from the US Gulf Coast to the Far East, sources in Asia said Monday. Taiwan’s CPC was heard to have bought 4 million barrels of WTI Midland crude from an unknown seller for March Loading. The cargo was priced around a $2.25/b premium to Dated Brent on a CIF Taiwan basis. CPC seems to enter the US Gulf Coast market when prices are ideal. The company last bought 4 million barrels of WTI Midland for January loading. But CPC did not seek any WTI spot cargoes for February. WTI Midland’s differential to WTI cash averaged minus $7.39/b in December, down from minus $5.78/b in November and lower than minus $3.95/b so far in January, according to data from S&P Global Platts. While most January cargoes have already been sent and few may be sent to Asia in February, March could bring a flurry of US Gulf Coast-to-Asia fixtures as the opportunity reemerges. Upcoming spring refinery maintenance season in the US Gulf Coast region could make more domestic crude barrels available for export, with… continue reading

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Source: CTRM Center

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