The world's top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, is expected to increase official oil selling prices of October crude for Asian clients, according to a Reuters report.
That's because refineries across Asia are booming in their efforts to keep up with demand for fuel oil and jet fuel - high margin fuels.
Seven traders that took part in a Reuters poll said they expect the price of Arab Light to rise between 15 and 80 cents to a premium of 90 cents-$1.55 a barrel to the average of Oman and Dubai quotes. Spot cargo premiums have rebounded to levels not seen since Saudi Arabia boosted oil output towards 10 million barrels a day in June, according to Reuters.
The benchmark Dubai swaps curve shifted from a structure denoting ample supplies to that of a tighter balance. The Dubai benchmark price is quite attractive and everybody has been rushing to buy, said a trader with a northeast Asian refiner of Saudi crude to Reuters. Refineries are coming back from maintenance, while the tightness in Europe means there are limited imports and cargoes priced off Dubai are even moving into the Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, a resumption of output in Libya would weigh on values of Saudi Arab Extra Light and Super Light crudes, for which prices are expected to increase much less than for Arab Heavy and Arab Medium.
Reuters reported that concerns still surround a potential global economic slowdown as economic indicators deteriorate in Europe and top oil consumer the United States may temper the increase in Saudi OSPs. The Saudis don't want to rock the boat too much when it is almost teetering into recession, a trader with a European trading firm said. They know Libya will come back and increase competition in lighter grades.
State oil company Saudi Aramco last month already lowered the price of Arab Light by a larger-than-expected 60 cents, weighed down by refinery snags in China, Taiwan and India. But Reuters reported that PetroChina is restarting a crude unit at its largest refinery in Dalian and will begin normal operations by the end of this month. Taiwan's Formosa Petrochemical Corp's last week restarted a crude distillation unit at its 540,000-bpd Mailiao plant.