North Sea Crude-Forties stable, deferrals rise

LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - North Sea Forties crude differentials were steady on Friday as traders assessed fresh November loading programmes amid mounting deferrals of October cargoes.

Only two of the 16 cargoes of North Sea Forties crude oil due to load in October have retained their original dates, trade and shipping sources said on Friday, as almost the entire schedule has been deferred due to lower-than-expected production.

Fourteen of 16 Forties cargoes have had their loading dates postponed by between two and 11 days, the sources said. Four cargoes have been postponed into November, they said.

This explains why the Forties November loadings do not begin until November 8. It is scheduled to load around 280,000 barrels per day (bpd) in November, down from 310,000 bpd in October.

The four benchmark North Sea crude oil streams - Brent, Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk - are set to pump around 780,000 barrels per day (bpd) in November, down from 871,000 initially scheduled for October, but up from September's recent low of 720,000 bpd.

Reuters calculations based on data supplied by oil companies showed all four of the key streams will load less crude in November.

The September total was the lowest since 2007, when price assessment agency Platts first expanded the dated Brent benchmark to its current BFOE form.

Output rose in October mainly due to the planned completion of maintenance work on the Buzzard oilfield, which has boosted loadings of Forties. But delays have postponed cargoes liftings into November and several other oilfields have also had maintenance work.

Norway's Oseberg stream will load 120,000 bpd in November, down from 155,000 bpd originally scheduled for October.


Differentials strengthened this week due to large-scale disruptions to October loadings but did not move on Friday.

In the Platts window, Vitol offered an Oct 27-29 Forties cargo at dated Brent plus 80 cents, indicating a potential strengthening next week. It found no buyers.

Shell was also offering an Oct 22-24 Forties at dated plus 70 cents but found no buyers.

Morgan Stanley and Total bid for mid October Forties at plus 50 and 45 cents respectively, little changed from Thursday.


* The swaps curve remained in backwardation, widening out further at the front end.

8-12/10 Dec +145 15-19/10 Dec +110 22-26/10 Dec +85 29-02/11 Dec +64 5-9/11 Dec +40 12-16/11 Dec +19 DATABASE

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(Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov,; editing by Jason Neely)

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