RIYADH: Oil prices rose at the start of Asian trade on Wednesday after industry data showed drawdowns in US crude and fuel stockpiles, raising supply concerns and offsetting worries about slowing demand from top importer China.
Brent crude futures rose 89 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $105.86 a barrel by 0223 GMT. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 97 cents, or 1 percent, to $103.38 a barrel.
The gains came on the back of news from Tuesday that the European Union is working on new sanctions against Russia for waging war on Ukraine that will target Moscow’s oil industry.
Vitol sends first shipment of Russian ESPO crude to UAE
The world’s largest independent oil trader, Vitol, loaded a Russian ESPO Blend crude cargo for the United Arab Emirates this week, the first such voyage for the grade, Reuters reported citing data from several analytics firms.
Suezmax tanker Kriti Breeze chartered for $2.3 million, loaded the 740,000-barrel cargo from the Far East port of Kozmino on May 3, and is heading to the port of Fujairah, data from Refinitiv, Kpler and Vortexa showed.
According to the data, the tanker is expected to discharge the cargo at Fujairah in late May or early June.
Two traders who regularly track ESPO crude said the crude is typically sold to North Asia.
The shipment is “very creative, and free-on-board discounts must be huge for it to work,” one of the traders said, referring to the crude’s spot discount to Dubai quotes, excluding freight cost.
BNP Paribas ends financing for Amazon rainforest oil drilling
France’s BNP Paribas pledged on Tuesday to end the newest financing for oil production in the Amazon rainforest.
They said it would reduce its “financed emissions intensity” in the energy and auto sectors.
Emissions intensity measures emissions relative to output that some climate activists have said does not go far enough.
BNP Paribas and more than 100 other banks have pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 but are under pressure to provide details on the deep shorter-term cuts to “financed emissions” that are needed if they have any chance of meeting their goal.
BNP Paribas said for upstream oil and gas refining, its financed emissions intensity will fall by at least 10 percent by 2025; for automotive clients by at least 25 percent; and for power generation businesses by at least 30 percent.
“Our strategy is threefold: align our portfolio with our net-zero commitment; measure and pilot our carbon-related risks; and broaden and deepen client relationships to support them as they make their low-carbon transition,” CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafe said.
BNP said the targets were determined using International Energy Agency climate scenarios and the Net Zero Banking Alliance framework.
The NZBA is a voluntary group of banks committed to aligning lending and investment portfolios with net-zero emissions by 2050.
BNP said it would hit its oil and gas-related targets by reducing its credit exposure to the sector by 12 percent from a 2020 baseline.
It had already reduced its exposure in 2021 by 6 percent as it toughened its stance on lending to unconventional oil and gas.
Its pledge to end Amazon oil financing includes new oil and gas production and companies developing related infrastructure.
However, BNP Paribas left open the door to some continued financing in the Amazon by adding that the exclusions would “not apply to companies with the most credible transition plans toward a net-zero economy by 2050.”
Climate campaigners have said banks must stop backing fossil fuel extraction in the Amazon rainforest, the world’s largest, given its importance for biodiversity and its vital role in regulating the Earth’s climate by absorbing carbon dioxide.
(With input from Reuters)