SINGAPORE: Middle East crude benchmarks were mixed on Wednesday as Oman’s premium edged up, while cash Dubai’s premium dipped.

Taiwanese refiner Formosa Petrochemical closed a tender to buy Oman crude for April loading although the result was not immediately known.

Russia’s Surgutneftegaz has sold five ESPO crude cargoes loading in March at lower premiums than its previous deal after price benchmark Dubai became relatively more expensive than Brent, trade sources said.

Surgut sold the cargoes at $2.70 to $2.90 a barrel above Dubai quotes, they said. Surgut offered cargoes for loading from March 8-12, 12-16, 16-20, 22-26 and 27-31.

Buyers include Vitol, BP, Equinor, Lukoil and Unipec, the sources said.

Surgut last sold March-loading ESPO at premiums of about $3.20 a barrel.

Separately, Paramount Energy also sold its remaining four cargoes loading in March at similar premiums to Surgut’s latest tender, two sources familiar with the matter said. The cargoes are for loading from March 10-16, 14-20, 20-27 and 24-31.

The ESPO Blend crude oil loading plan from Russia’s Pacific port of Kozmino has been set at 2.64 million tonnes for March versus 2.4 million tonnes planned for loading in February, a schedule seen by Reuters showed.

On a daily basis exports in March will stay unchanged from February levels, according to Reuters calculations. February is three days shorter than March.