January 15, 2020 / 5:30 PM / a month ago

Med Crude-Urals diffs edge up, Russia-Belarus dispute in focus

MOSCOW, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Urals crude differentials to dated Brent in northwestern Europe inched up on Wednesday, while a stand-off between Moscow and Minsk over Russian oil supplies to Belarus in 2020 may affect loadings from Russia’s ports next month.

Traders expect the Urals provisional loading plan for the first days of February to emerge on Thursday or Friday.

Deliveries of oil from Russia to Belarus were suspended on Jan. 1 amid a dispute over contract terms. Small scale supplies restarted on Jan. 4 and the market is hoping for a dispute resolution before the end of the month.

* Belarus has started maintenance on the Druzhba oil pipeline, the main transit route for Russian oil exports to Europe, resulting in reduced oil supplies to Poland, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported, citing Gomeltransneft Druzhba.

* Flows of Russian crude oil to Poland via the Druzhba pipeline are in line with the schedule, Poland’s pipeline operator PERN said on Wednesday, adding that it knows about planned maintenance work in Belarus on the line.

* Transneft ruled out a Russian oil transit halt via Belarus, but said it is able to divert the oil flows if needed, Transneft CEO Nikolai Tokarev said on Wednesday.

PLATTS WINDOW

* Unipec bid for 100,000-tonnes of Baltic Urals on Jan. 25-29 at dated Brent minus $1.50 a barrel. That was in line with Urals estimations on Tuesday.

* There were no bids no offers for Urals, Azeri BTC and CPC Blend in the Mediterranean on Wednesday.

RELATED NEWS

* Russia’s oil export duty CL-EXPDTY-RU is expected to rise to $78.5 per tonne in February from $77.2 per tonne in January, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

* OPEC expects lower demand for its crude oil in 2020 even as global demand rises, it said on Wednesday, as rival producers grab market share and the United States looks set for another output record. (Reporting by Gleb Gorodyankin and Olga Yagova; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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