Asia Demand for US, Atlantic Crude to Jump

Asia Demand for US, Atlantic Crude to JumpAsia Demand for US, Atlantic Crude to Jump

Asian demand for crude oil from the Atlantic Basin and the Americas is set to rise as low prices drive Japanese and South Korean buyers to snap up cargoes to arrive ahead of peak winter consumption.

Robust appetite from the region could help soak up excess supplies in Europe and the United States, offering some support to benchmark global prices that collapsed to 10-month lows last week, Reuters reported.

The loading of oil shipments from Europe and the Americas to Asia tapered off in June after surging between March and May, but the recent price slump is pushing Asian buyers and traders to once again turn to the North Sea Forties grade of oil and to US crude.

Some traders hope the value of cargoes will increase during the time spent en route to Asia, with a possible upcoming climb in prices indicated by October Brent futures this month rising as much as 70 cents per barrel above the prompt month August contract.

"We know people are taking WAF (West African) and North Sea," said a trader with a North Asian refiner, declining to be identified as he was not authorized to speak with media.

A widening of Brent's premium to West Texas Intermediate crude to almost $3 a barrel earlier this month has particularly buoyed the appeal of moving US oil to Asia.

Japanese refiners JXTG and Cosmo Energy have bought US cargoes that will arrive in September, trade sources said, ahead of the winter season when power demand jumps as people crank up electric heating. Meanwhile, traders expect 2 million to 4 million barrels of North Sea crude to load in July and arrive in South Korea from the end of August to early September.

More Libyan crude could also make its way to Asia as output there rises. Thailand's PTT PLC recently bought Libya's Amna crude from Chinese trader Unipec for delivery in August and September. Shipping data shows that ExxonMobil, which operates a refinery in Thailand, chartered the Aframax Astro Saturn to take US crude from Corpus Christi, Texas to Sri Racha, Thailand for end-July arrival.


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