The outright price of light sweet crudes surged in line with global benchmarks, with the Tapis Asian Petroleum Price Index (APPI) estimated at above $50 a barrel, traders said yesterday.

The Tapis APPI assessment for yesterday, set by an industry panel, was posted at a record $50.95 a barrel, possibly the first time that the panelists' assessment for the Asia-Pacific benchmark Malaysian grade exceeded $50, traders said.

"Tapis is now the most expensive crude in the world as far as I know," a trader said.

Tapis APPI assessments are used as a component to set most prices in the region, from benchmark Tapis to Australian crudes and Vietnamese grades.

Panelists, which include producers, traders and refiners, are asked to assess the price of a Tapis cargo loading in the following month twice a week, usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

APPI assessments have surged in the past few months, in line with Nymex and IPE Brent prices.

The last series of assessments opened the way for the Tapis retro-active OSP to achieve a new record for September.

Traders calculated that, if the Tapis APPI assessment tomorrow remained at the same price, the September Tapis OSP would stand at $49.71 a barrel, up more than $2 a barrel from the previous OSP, which was itself a record.

Even with the Tapis APPI assessment lower on Thursday, the Sep-tember Tapis OSP is likely to achieve a new record.