Argus Media Limited

09/08/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/08/2023 15:09

US oil exports: WTI fob up on Opec+ export cuts

The price of WTI fob US Gulf coast rose after Saudi Arabia and Russia announced they would extend their export cuts through the end of the year.

WTI fob's discount to December Ice Brent narrowed by 23¢/bl to 48¢/bl over the week, while its premium to the WTI Houston pipeline index rose by 8¢/bl to 51¢/bl.

Saudi Arabia announced this week that it will extend its export cuts of 1mn b/d through the end of the year. This is the third time Saudi Arabia has extended the cut, which when combined with a 500,000 b/d cut that began in May, keeps Riyadh's production at around 9mn b/d until the end of 2023.

As Riyadh extended its cut, Saudi state-controlled Aramco marginally raised its official October crude formula prices to Asia-Pacific and the US while modestly cutting most of its European prices. The price increase came as a surprise to a few buyers in Asia-Pacific, who expected Saudi Arabia to cut prices to keep its crude competitive given that arbitrage arrivals in Asia are expected to rise because of a narrower Brent-Dubai spread. 

Russia announced in tandem with Saudi Arabia that it would extend its export cuts of 300,000 b/d until year-end. The voluntary cuts, which were introduced in August at 500,000 b/d and tempered in September to 300,000 b/d, will be based on a May-June baseline, Russian deputy prime minister Alexander Novak said. These cuts are in addition to Moscow's pledge to reduce production by 500,000 b/d from March until the end of 2024. 

The continuation of cuts by OPEC+ heavyweights means that buyers in Europe and Asia-Pacific will have to rely more on US crudes like WTI for supply as they have since the initial cuts. The increase in the price of medium to heavy sour crudes has caused refiners in Asia-Pacific and Europe to turn light sweet imports from the US. Crude exports in the US topped 130mn bl for the second time ever in August, according to preliminary data from analytics firm Vortexa.

Refiners in Europe are also contending with lower exports of Libyan crude, as shipments of Es Sider crude fell 6pc to 936,000 b/d in August, their lowest since July last year. The decrease of Libyan crude to the core markets of the Mediterranean is largely led by a 24pc drop in exports to Italy, though the decline was partially offset by Turkey returning as an outlet for Libyan crude in August after a seven-month hiatus.

Separately, departures from the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), which typically exports medium sour Mars, reached a record high of just over 5mn bl, or roughly 168,000 b/d, in August, according to preliminary data from analytics firm Vortexa.

Medium sour Johan Sverdrup has become a mainstay for refiners in Europe since the EU ban on Russian crude imports in March 2022, but 2023 has brought with it the stoppage of exports from Iraqi Kirkuk and Opec+ cuts for refiners to contend with, which appears to have caused refiners to look elsewhere for supply, including the US.

It is unclear if more Mars will continue to deliver to Europe in September but it seems less likely. Refiners in China have re-entered the market and purchased about 6mn bl of Mars for September loading, according to market participants, and exports from LOOP rarely breach 10mn bl/month.

By Anna Muthalaly and Calder Jett

Planned US crude export cargoes
Tanker name Size Charterer Destination Laycan
Kassab VLCC PTT China/Thailand 3-8 September 2023
VLCC Stephanie VLCC SK Energy Ulsan, South Korea 8 September 2023
Maran Apollo VLCC Occidental Asia-Pacific 8 September 2023
Coswisdom Lake VLCC Unipec China 8 September 2023
Landbridge Glory VLCC Unipec China 8-12 September 2023
Anne VLCC Unipec China 10 September 2023
Front Earl VLCC SK Energy South Korea 11 September 2023
V Harmony VLCC Chevron South Korea 12 September 2023
Sahma VLCC Resource Marine Asia-Pacific 13 September 2023
KHK Majesty VLCC Equinor China 14 September 2023
West Loyalty VLCC Mercuria Ningbo, China 15 September 2023
Clovis VLCC Reliance Western India 15 September 2023
Seaways Excelsior VLCC Phillips 66 China 15 September 2023
Front Signe VLCC Aramco Trading Western India 18 September 2023
Maran Danae VLCC Shell China 22 September 2023
Hunter VLCC PTT Singapore/Thailand 25 September 2023
Aragona VLCC Reliance Western India 25 September 2023
Atlantas VLCC Unipec China 5 October 2023
Dias I VLCC Equinor Asia-Pacific 1 October 2023
Arafura VLCC Equinor China 5 October 2023
C Eternity Suezmax BP China 10-15 October 2023
Baghdad VLCC Mitsui South Korea 10-15 October 2023
New Splendor VLCC ExxonMobil Singapore 15 October 2023
Andaman VLCC Equinor Ningbo, China 17 October 2023
P. Long Beach Aframax Phillips 66 Europe 9 September 2023
Seaqueen Aframax ST Shipping Europe 10-11 September 2023
Sti Lombard Aframax Phillips 66 Europe 11-12 September 2023
Catalan Sea Aframax ST Shipping Europe 13 September 2023
Hai Shang Aframax Eni Europe 15 September 2023
Cyan Nova VLCC ExxonMobil Europe 15 September 2023
Seaways Montauk Suezmax ENI Europe 17-18 September 2023
Sophia VLCC Occidental Europe 19-23 September 2023
Gem No 5 VLCC Equinor Europe 21-22 September 2023
Yasa Southern Cross VLCC ExxonMobil Europe 25-30 September 2023
Seaways Enterprise VLCC Phillips 66 Europe 17-21 October 2023
Americas and misc.
Rio Spirit Suezmax Petrobras Brazil 21 September 2023
Shipping fixture reports
Select US crude cargoes in transit
Tanker name Size Loading window Destination ETA
New Courage VLCC 11-14 July 2023 Mumbai, India Alongside
C. Earnest VLCC 9-12 July 2023 Ulsan, South Korea Alongside
Sea Emerald VLCC 17-22 July 2023 Jieyang, China 9 September 2023
Pantanassa VLCC 25-28 July 2023 Visakhapatnam, India 9 September 2023
Qamran VLCC 8-13 July 2023 Kuala Sungai Linggi, Malaysia 10 September 2023
Great Lady VLCC 16-22 July 2023 Zhanjiang, China 10 September 2023
Delos VLCC 23-25 July 2023 Ningbo-Zhoushan, China 13 September 2023
Zourva VLCC 23-27 July 2023 Kaohsiung, Taiwan 15 September 2023
Phoenix Jamnagar VLCC 31 July - 6 August 2023 Singapore 18 September 2023
Habari VLCC 26-31 July 2023 Ningbo-Zhoushan, China 20 September 2023
DHT Puma VLCC 6-11 August 2023 Western India 20 September 2023
Landbridge Fortune VLCC 2-5 August 2023 Kuala Sungai Linggi, Malaysia 21 September 2023
Eco Seas VLCC 6-9 August 2023 Ulsan, South Korea 4 October 2023
DHT Lion VLCC 14-19 August 2023 Asia-Pacific 4 October 2023
Aslaf VLCC 18-23 August 2023 Kuala Sungai Linggi, Malaysia 6 October 2023
VL Bright VLCC 23-28 August 2023 Visakhapatnam, India 7 October 2023
Agios Sostis I VLCC 18-21 August 2023 Paradip, India 8 October 2023
Maran Aries VLCC 28-31 August 2023 Vadinar, India 10 October 2023
Blue Nova VLCC 19-25 August 2023 Singapore 10 October 2023
Advantage Vital VLCC 30 August - 2 September 2023 Singapore 16 October 2023
Yasa Scorpion VLCC 25-27 August 2023 Shui Dong, China 16 October 2023
London Voyager VLCC 28-31 August 2023 Taiwan 19 October 2023
Halcyon VLCC 21-28 August 2023 Ningbo, China 22 October 2023
Antonis I Angelicous VLCC 2-6 September 2023 Yeosu, South Korea 27 October 2023
Shaden VLCC 30 August - 4 September 2023 Taiwan 28 October 2023
Maran Plato Suezmax 11-13 August 2023 Milford Haven, UK Alongside
SFL Fraser Suezmax 15-18 August 2023 Immingham, UK Alongside
Nobleway Suezmax 14-16 August 2023 Santa Panagia, Italy Alongside
Landbridge Wisdom VLCC 15-19 August 2023 Rotterdam, The Netherlands Alongside
Navig8 Promise Aframax 17-19 August 2023 Gdansk, Poland Alongside
Goldway Suezmax 19-21 August 2023 Wilmhelmshaven, Germany Alongside
Aphrodite VLCC 18-25 August 2023 Rotterdam, The Netherlands 11 September 2023
Mars Sun Aframax 16-23 August 2023 Milazzo, Italy 13 September 2023
Saga Aframax 25-29 August 2023 Whitegate, Ireland 13 September 2023
Celeste Nova VLCC 23-26 August 2023 Rotterdam, The Netherlands 14 September 2023
Sonangol Namibe Suezmax 26 August 2023 Kalundborg, Denmark 15 September 2023
Pacific Suezmax 29-31 August 2023 Rotterdam, The Netherlands 17 September 2023
Xin Wei Yang VLCC 28-31 August 2023 Mongstad, Norway 19 September 2023
Front Samara Suezmax 26 August 2023 - 1 September 2023 Cartagena, Spain 19 September 2023
Miaoulis 21 Suezmax 24 August -2 September 2023 Cartagena, Spain 20 September 2023
Mare Nostrum Aframax 3-4 September 2023 Europe 22 September 2023
Americas and misc.
Spyros Suezmax 31 August - 2 September 2023 Chiriqui Grande, Panama Alongside
Affinity V Aframax 28 August 2023 Canaport, Canada Alongside
Copper Spirit Suezmax 22-24 August 2023 Sao Sebastiao, Brazil 13 September 2023
Almi Galaxy Suezmax 30 August - 2 September 2023 Durban, South Africa 28 September 2023
FleetMon and Vortexa