x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Saudi Aramco cuts prices for popular crude grade

The Saudi national oil company reduces asking prices around the world for oil shipments to be loaded next month.

Saudi Aramco has cut official selling prices for its most popular grade of crude amid a glut of oil supply in the Gulf. The Saudi national oil company said it had reduced the asking price in Asia for its benchmark Arab Light crude oil by 50 US cents (Dh1.84) per barrel. The official price for sales of the crude to northwest Europe was lowered by $1 per barrel and to the US by 5 cents per barrel. The company also cut asking prices for its Arab Medium and Arab Heavy crudes to the Far East by 40 cents each, while raising prices by 10 cents each for sales to US customers. All the new prices are for oil shipments to be loaded next month. Aramco's announcement follows a similar move yesterday by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), which retroactively cut its official selling price for shipments of its flagship Murban crude loaded last month by $1.80 per barrel. ADNOC also cut prices for its other three export grades of crude. Refiners and traders had predicted that Aramco would cut all its prices for crude shipments to Asia after port and refinery accidents in the region cut demand. At the same time, more oil has been arriving in the Far East through a new Russian pipeline carrying crude from Eastern Siberia to the Pacific coast, while 17 tankers in the Gulf and Red Sea are providing long-term storage for Iranian crude that has no immediate market. The even larger price cut for light crude offered to some European customers, however, was largely unexpected. The northwestern European market has recently tightened due to maintenance and repairs to North Sea oil production facilities. Aramco may be anticipating a more competitive regional market to emerge as the repairs are completed. @Email:tcarlisle@thenational.ae