London, July 3 - Neftegaz.RU. With exports of Russia's medium sour Urals crude significantly reduced because of OPEC+ production cuts, the grade has risen to its highest value in S&P Global Platts data going back to 2001.
Urals was assessed at Dated Brent plus $2/b on a delivered Rotterdam basis on June 30, Platts data showed. Urals supply in July is sharply lower month on month even after May and June loading programs themselves saw big falls.
The July export schedule for seaborne Urals crude shows loadings averaging 774,310 b/d, a reduction of 536,730 b/d on the month to the lowest volume since at least 2012.
The volume in July reflects both the extension of the OPEC+ cuts and the impact of increased refinery runs in Russia, which will reduce the quantity of Urals available for export, sources said.
Loadings of heavier, sour crudes globally have been disproportionately impacted by the OPEC+ cuts, leaving refiners few alternatives.
A European refiner recently paid around Dated Brent plus $2/b for a cargo loading July 7-11, a trader said. Another source said a cargo loading in the third decade of the month had traded at a premium of $2.35/b to Dated Brent. "Sour buyers in the Mediterranean are a bit stuck...nothing to buy and therefore bidding for anything remotely sour that can still be handled by refineries," a trader said.
However, the arbitrage to China for the grade was closed following ample inventory in the country, traders said.
With the country a significant buyer of the grade, reduced demand from the region may provide some respite to Mediterranean and European refiners. In the Mediterranean, Urals was last assessed at a premium to Dated Brent of $2.50/b on a delivered Augusta basis.
The assessment has only been higher once before in Platts data, when it was assessed at a premium of $2.55/b on June 18.