Shell is said to have snapped up a large volume of North Sea oil which helps set the global Brent benchmark, according to reports.
The price of dated Brent – the benchmark used to price cargoes in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia, is set by the cheapest of four North Sea crudes – Brent, Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk, or BFOE.
The oil major is said to have acquired many of the Forties cargoes loading in early December through the forward BFOE market.
It has also purchase a large amount of better-quality Ekofisk.
A Shell spokeswoman declined to comment for “commercial reasons”.