Indian refineries continued to moped cargoes of West African crude oil, underpinning what was otherwise a saturated market.
Refineries HPCL and BPCL together booked at least four million barrels of West African oil, adding to the six million booked earlier by IOC in a tender.
IOC has another tender pending this week to buy even more January-loading oil, which traders said was down to strong refinery runs and growing fuel demand within the Asian nation.
Other physical trading remained limited, as spoiled-for-choice buyers took their time in making new purchases.
Support for differentials to dated Brent was limited, as Indian buyers continued to hunt for the best prices available. In October, India’s crude oil imports from the Asia-Pacific region spiked as its refiners looked beyond their traditional suppliers for cheaper purchases.
Outright prices got a boost from a fresh stream of geopolitical uncertainty, after Turkey downed a Russian jet that was on a mission to Syria.
Surging U.S. gasoline futures also suggested refineries will keep running full steam to take advantage of strong margins.
But other new outlets, such as Latin America, were similarly fickle and price sensitive. Buyers in Uruguay, Argentina and Venezuela have also been bargain hunting, and in some cases eschewed African crudes for the North Sea’s Ekofisk or other grades.
JCB Energy said fixtures of West African crude to Latin America averaged 250,000 barrels per day in October, up by 190,000 bpd year-on-year, but were still not enough to offset weaker European buying.