By Alex Lawler
LONDON (Reuters) -The North Sea Forties crude oil stream will load only two cargoes in June, a copy of the shipment schedule showed on Thursday, reducing supply of the crude that underpins the global Brent benchmark.
Forties is normally the largest or second-largest of the five crude grades that underpins Brent, loading as many as 15 cargoes in a month. The other four grades are Ekofisk, Oseberg, Troll and Brent itself. [O/LOAD]
"It's going to be a tiny programme," one of the sources said, adding that the Hound Point terminal where Forties cargoes load would be closed for most of June.
The shutdown lends further support to Brent oil prices, which on Thursday were trading over $1 a barrel higher at more than $68 a barrel, adding to the impact of voluntary supply curbs by OPEC and its allies.
INEOS, which operates the Forties system, confirmed that Hound Point would be closed for part of June.
"The Forties Pipeline System will be shut down for planned maintenance from 27 May for three weeks," a spokesman said.
"Hound Point is a piece of infrastructure located on the FPS network and will be included in the schedule of planned maintenance."
Dated Brent is based on the Brent, Ekofisk, Oseberg, Forties and Troll crude streams. The benchmark is used to price oil in Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia.
Details of loadings are as follows. Totals may not add up because of rounding.
BPD MLN BBLS BPD MLN BBLS
Forties 40,000 1.2 135,000 4.2
Ekofisk 220,000 6.6 252,000 7.8
Troll 160,000 4.8 116,000 3.6
Oseberg 100,000 3 77,000 2.4
Brent 80,000 2.4 58,000 1.8
TOTAL 600,000 18 638,000 19.8
(Editing by Edmund Blair and Elaine Hardcastle)