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UK liquids production in August fell by 63 thousand b/d y/y to 0.93 mb/d as new production from the heavy Mariner field failed to offset disruptions on the Forties pipeline system (FPS). The Forties loading programme for August was initially set at 0.31 mb/d, though fixture data show just 0.22 mb/d left Hound Point as seven parcels were deferred or dropped due to restricted FPS throughput. Brent and Flotta streams loaded as expected. UK September loadings are higher than the revised August programme by 63 thousand b/d at 0.42 mb/d, though Forties loaders are pegged at just 0.27 mb/d due to maintenance at Buzzard in the first week of September. Less oil from Buzzard temporarily boosted the Forties premium to Dated as the stream became lighter and sweeter. The bulk of Forties continues to flow east as tariffs put on US crude imports boosts Chinese buying from the North Sea. Additionally, Forties differentials to Dated have been supported as the grade is in demand as an alternative to Arab Extra Light, which Saudi Arabia is having to swap for Arab Medium following disruptions at Abqaiq. Indeed, South Korea has fixed its first Forties cargo since June for October loading. The physical market remains tight with front two Brent spreads around $1 backward, despite UK loadings set 44 thousand b/d higher m/m for October due to two deferred Forties from September.
UK oil demand decreased by 50 thousand b/d y/y in July to 1.40 mb/d. Demand for diesel (-31 thousand b/d) and jet fuel (-8 thousand b/d) struggled the most y/y, while gasoline demand stabilised and was flat y/y. Runs increased by 86 thousand b/d m/m in July to 1.07 (-24 thousand b/d y/y) as the Lindsey refinery returned from maintenance.