North Sea Crude-Forties supported by arb to Asia

* Forties sold at dated Brent plus 70 cents

* Traders believe BP is taking VLCC to Asia

* Swaps in backwardation

LONDON, Oct 10 (Reuters) - North Sea Forties crudedifferentials remained at a strong premium to dated Brent onWednesday, supported by bidding from BP, tight supplies andstronger refinery demand.

The arbitrage of Forties to South Korea appears to haveresumed. BP purchased its third cargo in three days onWednesday, and rival traders expect the oil to be loaded onto aVery Large Crude Carrier bound for South Korea.

Shipment of Forties to South Korea has been encouraged by afree trade agreement during 2012 and it tends to support pricesin the North Sea market, as well as Brent swaps and timespreads.


* BP bought a Forties loading Oct. 23-25 at dated plus 70cents, down 14 cents from a trade on Tuesday and the third cargoit has bought in the Platts window this week.

* Also in the window, BP bid for an Oct. 29-Nov. 6 Fortiesat dated plus 70 cents and later withdrew the bid.


* Loading programmes for November show a smaller stream ofcargoes for export with around 780,000 barrels per day (bpd) ofthe four BFOE grades - Brent, Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk -available, close to September's record low of 720,000 bpd.

Almost the entire Forties programme for October has beendeferred due to a slower-than-expected return to production ofthe Buzzard offshore oilfield, Britain's biggest, after amaintenance shutdown.


* The swaps curve remained in a steep backwardation:

15-19/10 Jan +21222-26/10 Jan +19029-02/11 Jan +1585-9/11 Jan +13312-16/11 Jan +10819-23/11 Jan +83DATABASE

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(Reporting by Alex Lawler; editing by Keiron Henderson)

((alex.lawler@thomsonreuters.com)(+44 207 542 4087)(ReutersMessaging: alex.lawler.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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