Saudi Aramco has offered a 90,000 tonne fuel oil cargo for March loading to selected buyers, its first parcel for the month and after selling 500,000-550,000 tonnes for February lifting, traders said yesterday.
The A961 lot of 180-centistoke (cst) is for lifting on March 8 from its Ras Tanura refinery on a free-on-board basis. The cargo is expected to be awarded today.
Aramco last sold a similar parcel for February 27-March 1 loading to Brazil's Petrobras at between a 50-cent a tonne discount to a 50-cent premium to Singapore spot quotes on a free-on-board basis.
Supplies from the kingdom in February have rebounded to 500,000-550,000 tonnes, up from the previous month's 350,000-400,000 tonnes, largely due to the restart of its 325,000 barrels per day crude distillation unit at Ras Tanura in mid-January, after a 45-day maintenance.
Supplies are expected to ease in March, with the joint-venture Samref refinery in Yanbu, which exports about five 80,000-tonne cargoes in two months, undergoing a 45-day maintenance in mid-March.
Asian fuel oil fundamentals have weakened since the beginning of the month. Western arbitrage volumes for March closed at five-month highs of 3.8-3.9 million tonnes, rebounding from a six-month low of three million tonnes each in January and February.
Reflecting the weakening market, the product's prompt crack weakened to its lowest level in more than a month, valued at a discount of $4 a barrel at market close on Monday.
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