LONDON: Saudi Arabia lowered the February official selling prices for the flagship Arab light crude it sells to Asia to plus $1.80 a barrel versus the Oman/Dubai average, the country’s state oil producer Aramco said on Thursday.
The price is $1.45 a barrel less than the January OSP. The top oil exporter set its Arab Light OSP to northwest Europe at minus $1.50 a barrel against ICE Brent for February, $1.40 a barrel lower than its price for January.
The price cut comes as Russia diverts its oil from Europe to Asia, after the EU banned seaborne crude oil imports from Dec. 5, alongside a price cap introduced by the G7 nations that restricts Russian oil trade using Western financial, shipping and insurance services.
Oil steadied on Thursday in volatile trade after posting the biggest two-day loss for the start of a year in three decades with the shutdown of a US fuel pipeline providing support and economic concerns capping gains.
Big declines in the previous two days were driven by worries about a global recession, especially since short-term economic signs in the world’s two biggest oil consumers, the US and China, looked weak.
Helping drive gains early on Thursday was a statement from top US pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline, which said its Line 3 had been shut for unscheduled maintenance with a restart expected on Jan. 7.
Brent crude was up 60 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $78.44 a barrel at 1435 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude was down 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $72.58. Both contracts were up over $2 earlier.
Both benchmarks’ cumulative declines of more than 9 percent on Tuesday and Wednesday were the biggest two-day losses at the start of a year since 1991, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.