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Dubai crude trade hits record volume


[SINGAPORE] Dubai crude trade heated up in the Platts window on Wednesday as Chinaoil stepped up purchases, buying 90 of the 92 partial cargoes traded, the highest daily volume ever, traders said.

The purchases strengthened the Dubai cash price, flipping it into a small premium against its swap for the first time in two months even as Brent crude futures hit their lowest in more than two years.

Wednesday's trades led to the scheduling of five cargoes, bringing Chinaoil's total purchase to 13 cargoes, or 6.5 million barrels, in five sessions this month, traders said. "It's only the eighth of the month, and he has already taken 13 cargoes," a trader with a Western firm said, referring to Chinaoil trader Zhang Yufeng, who heads its Middle East crude trading. Chinaoil is the trading arm of state-owned PetroChina .

The strong Dubai price has depressed gasoil margins in Asia to the lowest in more than two months.

Platts Dubai price is the benchmark for most of the Middle Eastern and Russian oil sold to Asia. "We confirm that the Platts Market on Close (MOC) process for Dubai crude saw an all-time high volume of 92 trades on Wednesday that led to the declaration of five 500,000 barrel cargoes of crude oil loading in December, which was also a record high volume," Jonty Rushforth, Platts editorial director of Asia and Middle East oil markets, said in an e-mail.

Mercuria and Royal Dutch Shell will each deliver an Upper Zakum crude cargo, and Unipec, the trading arm of Asia's largest refiner Sinopec, will deliver two Oman crude cargoes, the traders said. BP will deliver a Dubai crude cargo.

Thomson Reuters, parent of Reuters news, competes with Platts in providing news and information to the oil market.- Reuters

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