Baku, January 13, AZERTAC
European and Chinese traders are shipping a record 22 million barrels of crude from the North Sea and Azerbaijan to Asia this month, seeking to plug any supply gap left by OPEC production cuts.
Over 11 million barrels of North Sea Forties crude have either been offloaded or are on their way to Asia, adding to a record 11 million barrels of Azeri crude oil from Azerbaijan, Reuters reported.
The record export volumes come on expectations of tighter Middle East crude supplies due to plans by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut production in an attempt to prop up prices.
“Asia needs the oil, Europe has it. The OPEC cut has raised prices, and that now makes it profitable to send European oil to Asia,” said one senior trader with knowledge of the deals on condition of anonymity as he is not allowed to talk to media.
“In December last year, SOCAR has sent 1 million barrels, in January of this year 5 million barrels towards Asia. A further 3 million barrels of Azerbaijani crude oil from SOCAR planned to send towards Asia in January,” SOCAR Marketing and Economic Operations Department told AZERTAC.