4:05 AM, Feb 21, 2017 — Heavy crude shipments from the U.S., Canada and Russia to China have picked up for April delivery as OPEC cartel members dial back on supplies to meet requirements to trim sales under a coordinated oil pact with non-OPEC nations led by Russia, shipping sources said on Tuesday in Asia.
Another 1 million barrels of Mars heavy crude pumped offshore of the U.S. Gulf Coast is heading to China in April, shippers said, building on supplies that started making their way in January at about 600,000 barrels as small refiners in China favor the heavy grades for lower cost and resulting higher margins on export shipments.
As well, China has deals with Venezuela for heavy supplies that have been short recently as the country struggles to maintain production during an economic crisis and Saudi Arabia has reduced its offerings as part of the oil curb back to trim nearly 1.8 million barrels per day of crude overall from global markets.
Demand has grown for heavy grades in Asia, which has seen higher refinery output as planned maintenance at several key refineries in the region gets completed ahead of increased summer demand expectations. Russia, which is part of the production pact, has seen better prices for its heavy grades on the Saudi and Venezuela reductions, making shipments possible.