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Factbox: UK's Forties shutdown reverberates in oil, refining markets

London (Platts)--12 Dec 2017 809 am EST/1309 GMT


Brent crude futures hit a two-year high of over $65/b Tuesday as oil markets continued to react to news that the UK's 600,000 b/d Forties oil pipeline will likely remain shut in for a "number of weeks" in order to repair a crack.

The following is a list of key facts on the Forties crude stream and the impact of the shutdown.


MARKET SIGNIFICANCE


* The Ineos-operated Forties Pipeline System is a key UK crude transit route, exporting around 40% of the country's oil production. The route has seen volumes average 445,000 b/d last year.

* Liquids from more than 80 fields flow onshore via the pipeline to the stabilization, separation, and processing facilities at Kinneil, Grangemouth.

* Nexen's Buzzard field is currently the largest component field of the Forties blend, making up about 31% of the total crude stream.

* Other key oil fields transporting crude via the Forties pipeline include Shell's Shearwater and Apache's Forties field.

* Forties is a key ingredient of the cash BFOE (Brent-Forties-Oseberg-Ekofisk) contract, which together with physically delivered Dated Brent, is a component of the Brent Complex, used as a reference for measuring the value of crude oil around the world.

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* With Forties crude supplies shut in, Dated Brent was assessed at $65.165/b on Monday, the highest in over two and half years, according to S&P Global Platts data, up $1.21/b from Friday.


CRUDE QUALITY


* Forties is a medium, sour North Sea crude with a gravity of 38.7 API and sulfur 0.79%, according to Platts data.

* The main regional alternative crudes to Forties blend in terms of quality include Russia's Urals and the UAE's Murban crude.

* Currently the single largest crude oil grade in the North Sea region, Forties blend is loaded in cargoes of approximately 600,000 barrels each.


FIELD SHUTDOWNS


* Apache confirmed late Monday that it has already shut down the Forties oil field, affecting 35,800 b/d of output net to the company.

* Chrysaor, a large North Sea independent, said it has shut its three operated platforms connected to Forties: Everest, Lomond and Armada.

* Other offshore operators with producing assets connected to the Forties line are expected to announce shutdowns shortly as storage on the platforms fills.

* The loss of Forties has impacted gas production from the Elgin-Franklin and Britannia gas field areas, a loss currently estimated at 15 million cu m/d.

* If production through the Britannia area is shut down completely, the total impact could be up to 25 million cu m/d, given 2017 average flows and current regulatory notifications.


REFINING IMPACT


* Ineos' 200,000 b/d Grangemouth refinery, which relies heavily on Forties crude, said it is starting to look for crudes from other sources.

* Scotland's sole refinery operated by Petroineos, a subsidiary of Ineos, is connected directly to the Forties line onshore.

* Other regional refineries that buy Forties blend crude are also expected to seek alternative light, sweet crudes to meet their processing crude slates.


FORTIES DESTINATIONS


* The two key destinations for Forties crude are South Korea and the European refining hub of Rotterdam.

* Other important destinations for the North Sea grade in the past two years have been ExxonMobil's 270,000 b/d Fawley refinery in the UK, Repsol's 270,000 b/d Bilbao refinery in Spain, and the port of Brunsbuttel, which connects to Germany's key refineries such as Klesch's 90,000 b/d Heide refinery.

-- Robert Perkins, robert.perkins@spglobal.com, Eklavya Gupte, eklavya.gupte@spglobal.com
-- Edited by James Leech, newsdesk@spglobal.com




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