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Pertamina Buys NWS Condensate at 'Deep Discount'

April 8, 2020

Illustration by Kovalenko I - AdobeStock
Illustration by Kovalenko I - AdobeStock

Indonesia's state oil and gas company PT Pertamina has bought a cargo of Australian North West Shelf (NWS) condensate at a deep discount of $8 a barrel to dated Brent on a cost-and-freight (CFR) basis, three trade sources told Reuters on Wednesday. 

That was equivalent to a spot discount of $10 a barrel on a free-on-board (FOB) basis, the sources said, likely the widest spot discount in years. The cargo, due to arrive in early June, was sold by Exxon Mobil Corp, two of the sources said. 

Demand for condensate - an ultra-light crude oil that is a by-product of natural gas and feedstock for splitters that produce naphtha - has dropped sharply due to the coronavirus pandemic and poor naphtha margins. Asia's physical naphtha crack has been holding at its deepest discount to Brent crude oil since 2008 because of high supplies. 

There were still three May-loading NWS condensate cargoes unsold with traders amid the glut, the sources said. Qatar Petroleum, a major Middle East condensate seller, is still trying to find buyers for its May-loading Deodorized Field Condensate (DFC) and is making cheap offers, the sources said. 

Last week, BP, one of the partners in the North West Shelf Venture, sold three NWS condensate cargoes at a spot discount of around $7-$7.50 a barrel to dated Brent on average on an FOB basis, two of the sources said. 

One of the cargoes was at a discount of around $8.80 a barrel, they said. Companies, including the ones involved here, typically decline to comment on such commercial trading matters. In 2019, the lowest trade level for NWS condensate was at discounts of around $6.50-$6.70 a barrel, the sources said. 

Pertamina is a regular NWS condensate buyer for its Trans-Pacific Petrochemical Indotama (TPPI) unit, which operates a condensate splitter in Indonesia. 

(Reporting By Shu Zhang; Editing by Edmund Blair and Tom Hogue)



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