North Sea Crude-Forties rises on firm demand, Brent delays

Reuters

* Forties trades at dated Brent plus 65 cents

* All Brent December cargoes now delayed

* Buchan Alpha platform closed as storm brews

* Ekofisk Chilean fixture for December spotted

LONDON, Dec 4 (Reuters) - North Sea Forties crude oil traded

higher on Wednesday as demand remained firm whilst supply

continued to tighten across the region with further delays to

Brent loadings.

Traders said that all seven Brent cargoes for December had

now been pushed off their original loading dates, following

production issues. "We are hearing field problems," one said.

The last cargo in the schedule - parcel B1207 - will now

load on Jan. 4-6, a second trader said.

Taqa, which operates the Brent pipeline system,

and some of the fields feeding into Brent, said it could not

comment on daily production fluctuations or any changes to

partner production resulting in lower flows through the Brent

pipeline.

Talisman Sinopec has closed its Buchan Alpha platform in the

British North Sea ahead of an approaching storm. The floating

platform contributes fewer than 5,000 barrels of oil per day to

the Forties crude stream.

The removal of personnel follows similar moves by BP

and Conoco in the Norwegian sector on Tuesday.

Buzzard, the biggest contributor to the Forties

stream, is still unaffected, traders said.

Buzzard accounted for 48 percent of Forties output in the

week Nov. 25-Dec. 1, down from 49 percent the week before,

according to the latest update on the Forties Pipeline System

website.

Demand to ship North Sea crudes out of northwest Europe

remains steady. Trafigura is looking to move 130,000 tonnes of

Ekofisk from Teesport to Chile around Dec. 10 on the Majestic,

shipping fixtures showed on Wednesday.

Also, Repsol has fixed another Forties shipment from Hound

Point to northern Spain for Dec. 9 with the 80,000 tonne Alatau.

Mediterranean refiners have been steady buyers of North Sea

crudes over the past month as Libyan crude supplies have become

unreliable.

Libya said it expected to reopen all its oil ports on Dec.

10 and resume full production about a week after that but

traders and analysts are sceptical this will be achieved.

FORTIES

* Vitol sold a Forties cargo loading on Dec. 25-27 to

Trafigura at dated Brent plus 65 cents. This was up from

Tuesday's trade at dated Brent plus 60 cents for Dec. 16-18

Forties.

* Hetco offered its Dec. 23-25 Forties cargo at dated Brent

plus 55 cents, down from its last offer on Tuesday for the same

cargo at dated Brent plus 70 cents.

EKOFISK

* ENI offered its Dec. 23-25 Ekofisk cargo at dated Brent

plus $1.50, down from its last offer for the same cargo on

Tuesday at dated Brent plus $1.55.

* The quality premium for December-loading Ekofisk cargoes

is 68 cents.

SWAPS

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DATABASE

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