09 July 2013 15:22 [Source: ICIS news]
September ICE Brent crude oil futures rose from around $103/bbl on Tuesday 2 July (16:30 GMT) to around $106/bbl (11:30 GMT) on Tuesday 9 July.
Brent crude oil values strengthened partly on supply concerns fuelled by renewed political turmoil in Egypt.
Naphtha prices were assessed at $870-872/tonne CIF (cost, insurance & freight) NWE (northwest Europe) on Tuesday, compared with $849-850/tonne last Tuesday.
Prices above $870/tonne CIF NWE were last seen in early April 2013.
Part of the price increases seen in the European naphtha market is caused by reduced production of crude oil from Libya, which is mainly light-sweet and naphtha rich.
The curtailment of production is caused by civil protests in the north African nation which has led to closures of both oil fields and export terminals in recent weeks.
As a result, primary export market such as the Mediterranean is suffering from a shortage of light-sweet naphtha-rich crude and pushing up prices for alternatives such as Algerian Saharan Blend, which is now trading significantly higher compared to its official selling price.
The main application of naphtha is in the petrochemical production of olefins. Naphtha is also used as a feedstock for gasoline blending.
By Cuckoo James and Kawai Wong
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