Saudi Arabia has raised the price of its flagship Arab Light crude oil for customers in Asia, who buy more than half of its crude exports, by $1.25 a barrel for April, while cutting prices for its heavy crude for European buyers, state-run Saudi Aramco said on Sunday.
Saudi Aramco has set the Arab Light price for Asian buyers at Oman/Dubai average plus $2.80 per barrel for April, up from $1.55 for March.
The world's biggest crude exporter cut the price of heavy crude -- Iran's largest oil export -- for the Mediterranean market by 40 cents to the Brent weighted average (BWAVE) minus $4.80/bbl, while cutting the price of its heavy crude for northwest Europe by 30 cents to BWAVE minus $4.60.
Saudi Aramco raised the price of its main export crude, Arab Light, to the United States by 10 cents to the Argus Sour Crude Index (ASCI) plus $0.05 a barrel, while cutting the north-west Europe market price for Arab Light by 40 cents to BWAVE minus $1.25/bbl.
Aramco raised the prices of all crudes for Asian buyers, with Super Light jumping $3.40 to Oman/Dubai plus $7.60, but upped the price of its heavy crude by just 10 cents to Oman/Dubai minus $0.75/bbl.
It left the Arab Light crude price for the Mediterranean market unchanged from March at BWAVE minus $1.10/bbl. A sharp rise in benchmark Brent crude oil prices over the last few weeks threatens to impede the economy's tentative recovery.
European buyers are reducing their purchases of Iranian oil because of sanctions but debt-ridden Greece remains most vulnerable to Iranian crude disruption and rising prices, with Saudi Arabia one of the few countries able to replace Iranian barrels.
(Reporting by Daniel Fineren in Dubai and Reem Shamseddine in Khobar; Editing by Bernard Orr)