Royal Dutch Shell has built up a sizeable position in November-loading Forties crude which helps set the global Brent benchmark, trade sources said, and looks set to be sending three supertankers of the crude to Asia.

Shell was reported on Thursday to have booked two VLCCs – New Vista and Ellinis – to take Forties to Asia this month, on top of a third, Baltic Sunrise, which is already en route and believed by trade sources to have been chartered by Shell.

These would absorb 10 cargoes of Forties, almost half of the 21 shipments originally scheduled for November.

“We think Shell has got a fair amount of the Forties,” said a North Sea trade source.

Shell tends not to comment on its trading. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

It is not uncommon for companies that trade North Sea crude to build up big positions, which can lead to unusual patterns in related physical and derivative markets.

Shell bought two cargoes of Forties on Thursday, when the Forties price differential rose to its highest in a week.

Almost a year ago, Shell built up a large position in Forties cargoes and was thought by trade sources to have shipped the oil to Asia.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News.