The slowdown in tanker traffic through the Suez Canal is fueling the divide, with one trading region centered around the Atlantic basin, comprising the North Sea and the Mediterranean, while another includes the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean and the East Asia. Crude oil is still transported between these regions – via a longer and more expensive route around Africa’s southern border – but recent purchasing trends indicate a disconnect.
In Europe, some refiners did not buy Iraqi crude from Basra in January, while mainland buyers snapped up cargoes from the North Sea and Guyana, traders said. In Asia, spot prices jumped in mid-January as demand for Abu Dhabi’s Murban crude surged, while flows from Kazakhstan to Asia fell sharply.
Source: The Delfi