OREANDA-NEWS. US crude was shipped in larger volumes to European and Mediterranean refiners in November, displacing more expensive grades from the Caspian Sea.

At least four tankers carrying US crude offloaded a combined 1.6mn bl in November at the Fos-Lavera port complex in France, marking the largest monthly number so far in 2017. These shipments included a light sweet crude blend from Flint Hills' Ingleside, Texas, facility delivered on the Aframax Agios Gerasimos on 16 November and WTI-quality crude from the Beaumont/Port Arthur, Texas, area delivered 22 November on the BP-chartered Aframax Drepanos.

The Aframax Phoenix Admiral is expected to arrive in Fos-Lavera around 19-22 December with a roughly 550,000 bl of light sweet Bakken crude for Petrolneos' Lavera 210,000 b/d refinery from the Beaumont, Texas, export center.

Three US crude cargos totaling roughly 1.3mn bl arrived at the northern Italian ports of Savona and Genoa, pushing out Russian supply to become the third biggest supplier at the two ports. ExxonMobil, which booked the Suezmax Almi Horizon to leave the US Gulf coast on 9 December for the Mediterranean, operates the 175,000 b/d Trecate, Italy, refinery.

Savona and Genoa can also store crude and serve independent refiner Iplom's 46,000 b/d Busalla refinery and Italian integrated Eni's 200,000 b/d Sannazzaro plant.

Crude delivered to the southern Spanish port of Algeciras also edged higher in November as Spanish refiner Cepsa stepped up crude purchases following recent maintenance on a crude distillation unit (CDU) and fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) at its 240,000 b/d refinery at the port. Cepsa received at least one 550,000 bl US crude cargo in November.

A 550,000 bl US cargo arrived in mid-November at the Spanish port of Cartagena, which took a total 345,000 b/d of crude that month, according to port authority data. The cargo marks the first US shipment to Cartagena since January. The port — which houses Repsol's 220,000 b/d refinery — has posted a string of strong crude receipts following a turnaround at the facility's 50,000 b/d hydrocracker and hydrotreatment unit earlier in the year.

Cartagena was one of the first European ports to receive US crude after the US administration lifted decades-old export restrictions in December 2015.

The port of Bilbao, Spain took in at least one US crude cargo of 650,000 bl for the second consecutive month in November. Repsol's 240,000 b/d Bilbao and 120,000 b/d La Coruna refineries took receipt of less crude overall in November than in the previous months, but a string of cargoes are lining up to discharge in early December.