The ORB ended the month slightly more than 2% higher on a monthly average basis, supported by a shortlived oil complex rally earlier in the month on increasing expectations that OPEC and non-OPEC voluntary production adjustments will be extended into the second half of this year.
On the other hand, raising US oil production kept pressure on the prices for entire month, holding them within a narrow band.
Meanwhile, limited seasonal stock draws due to higher refinery runs and lower US imports, have further supported prices. Brief supply disruptions from Libya, Nigeria and the North Sea also buoyed oil prices during this period.
On the monthly basis, the ORB values rose by $1.02 to settle at $51.34/b in April, up by 2.0% from March. Compared with the previous year, the ORB value was about 61.6% higher, or $19.75, at $51.81/b.
ORB component values improved, along with relevant crude oil benchmarks and monthly changes in their respective official selling price (OSP) differentials. In April, crude oil physical benchmarks, namely Dated Brent, Dubai and WTI spot prices, rose by 99˘, $1.10 and $1.48, respectively.
Despite plentiful Atlantic Basin supply pressure on price differentials for light sweet crudes from West and North Africa, basket components they improved alongside crude Brent benchmark outright prices. Saharan Blend, Es Sider, Girassol, Bonny Light and Gabon Rabi values increased by $1 on average, or 2%, to $52.06/b. Physical crude differentials for these grades have been under pressure for several months as supply surged. Gains in regional crude oil benchmarks uplifted OSP offsets and healthy global sour markets continued to support the value of multiple-region destination grades, such as Arab Light, Basrah Light, Iran Heavy and Kuwait Export. On average, these grades increased in value by 92˘ or 1.8% to $51.08/b, for the month. Middle Eastern spot components Murban and Qatar Marine saw their values improve by $1.43 or 2.8% to $53.36/b. The Latin American ORB components, Venezuelan Merey and Ecuador’s Oriente also edged up to $45.66/b and $48.70/b, gaining $1.52 or 3.4% and $1.87 or 4.0% respectively.
On 10 April, the ORB stood at $47.31/b.