Launceston — The historic discount that Asian buyers have enjoyed on heavier crudes has evaporated recently as such grades become scarcer, but it may just be that the answer lies in more light oil. Prices for heavier grades of crude have risen faster relative to light oils in Asia as the market tightens amid renewed US sanctions against Iran, the ongoing political disintegration of Venezuela, and production curbs by oil cartel Opec and its allies. These involuntary and voluntary cuts have removed several hundred thousand barrels per day (bpd) of mainly heavy crude from the market, and it’s likely that more volume will be lost in coming months. Opec’s seaborne exports dropped to 23.65-million bpd in February from 24.08-million in January, according to data compiled by Refinitiv. Venezuela’s exports slipped by 540,000 bpd and Saudi Arabia’s by 140,000 bpd, the data shows. The data also shows that Venezuela’s exports are likely to drop a further 250,000 bpd in March, Saudi Arabia’s by ...

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