March 6, 2018 / 5:59 PM / a year ago

Med Crude-Urals differentials in NW Europe fall to 12-month lows

MOSCOW, March 6 (Reuters) -

* Urals crude differentials in northwest Europe fell to their lowest levels in a year, losing 40 cents a barrel on Tuesday on sluggish demand and abundant supplies of alternative grades, while regional plants reduce runs as seasonal maintenance perks up, market sources said.

* In northwest Europe, Vitol sold to Total a 100,000-tonne cargo ex-Primorsk or Ust-Luga for March 21-25 at minus $2.80 a barrel to dated Brent. This compared with an offer from Vitol on Monday at dated Brent minus $2.35 a barrel.

* Litasco offered a similar cargo for March 19-23 down to minus $2.65 a barrel, but withdrew.

* Trafigura offered 100,000 tonnes of Urals for loading from Baltic ports on March 21-25 at dated Brent minus $2.30 a barrel, and a similar cargo for March 17-21 down to minus $2.40 a barrel.

* Weaker differentials in northwest Europe may put extra pressure on Urals levels in the Mediterranean, as sellers struggle to place March barrels and seek to send vessels to northwest Europe.

* In the Mediterranean, Litasco offered in the Platts window 80,000 tonnes of Urals ex-Novorossiisk for March 21-25 loading at minus $2.40 a barrel, but nobody was interested.

* There were no bids and offers for Azeri BTC and CPC Blend in the Platts window on Tuesday.

* Italian refinery Saras has begun a planned refinery turnaround involving a 130,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) crude distillation unit and a hydrocracker at its 300,000 bpd Sarroch oil refinery in Sicily, according to three trading sources.

* Libya’s El Sharara oilfield was operating normally on Tuesday and pumping 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) after reopening following a 24-hour stoppage, a field engineer said. (Reporting by Gleb Gorodyankin; Editing by Adrian Croft) ))

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