* 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 crude differentials remained at a strong premium to dated Brent on Wednesday, supported by bidding from BP, tight supplies and stronger refinery demand.
The arbitrage of Forties to South Korea appears to have resumed. BP purchased its third cargo in three days on Wednesday, and rival traders expect the oil to be loaded onto a Very Large Crude Carrier bound for South Korea.
Shipment of Forties to South Korea has been encouraged by a free trade agreement during 2012 and it tends to support prices in the North Sea market, as well as Brent swaps and timespreads.
* BP bought a Forties loading Oct. 23-25 at dated plus 70 cents, down 14 cents from a trade on Tuesday and the third cargo it has bought in the Platts window this week.
* Also in the window, BP bid for an Oct. 29-Nov. 6 Forties at dated plus 70 cents and later withdrew the bid.
* Loading programmes for November show a smaller stream of cargoes for export with around 780,000 barrels per day (bpd) of the 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 been deferred due to a slower-than-expected return to production of the Buzzard offshore oilfield, Britain's biggest, after a maintenance shutdown.
* The swaps curve remained in a steep backwardation:
15-19/10 Jan +212 22-26/10 Jan +190 29-02/11 Jan +158 5-9/11 Jan +133 12-16/11 Jan +108 19-23/11 Jan +83 DATABASE
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(Reporting by Alex Lawler; editing by Keiron Henderson)
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