BP PLC (BP) is looking to ship 2 million barrels of North Sea crude to South Korea at the end of June in a move likely to support crude prices in the North Sea market, according to shipping fixtures seen by Dow Jones Newswires Thursday.
BP has moved to charter the 270,000 metric ton vessel, the Front Opalia, to load North Sea crude June 24-25 and head to South Korea. The cost of the shipment is $5.5 million, according to the fixtures.
A European Union-South Korean free trade agreement lets South Korean refiners save 3% in import duties of North Sea oil grades. The arbitrage, which has seen millions of barrels of North Sea crude head East, has supported crude prices in the North Sea market this year amid weak domestic demand from refiners.
BP bought two cargoes of Forties crude, the main component of global benchmark Brent, from Trafigura in Wednesday's price-setting late-afternoon trade. The buying helped Forties prices rise above physical benchmark Brent.
Forties has been the main North Sea grade shipped to Asia in recent months.
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