8 Apr 2022 15:18

Surgutneftegas selling tanker cargoes of oil to Litasco, possibly for Asia - sources

MOSCOW. April 8 (Interfax) - Surgutneftegas , which sells oil on the spot market, agreed in April to sell several tanker cargoes to Litasco, an international trader controlled by Lukoil, a market source told Interfax.

The source said several cargoes of 100,000 tonnes would then be loaded onto a VLCC tanker with deadweight of up to 320,000 tonnes and shipped to the Asian market, probably China, thereby achieving economy through the scale of shipments.

The source said Chinese companies did not buy Russian oil at Baltic ports in March, although there were sales last month.

The port schedule indicates Surgutneftegas will sell 18 cargoes of 100,000 tonnes or crude or 1.8 million tonnes in total from Baltic ports. The company was unable to sell any cargoes in at regular tenders in March and is no signing direct contracts with buyers. Also, banks have not been opening letters of credit to pay for oil supplied under contracts since March.

Sources told Reuters that China's Unipec would be one of the main buyers of seaborne crude from Surgutneftegas in April, in addition to Litasco.

Reuters said Litasco had bought tonnes least five 100,000-tonne cargoes of Urals crude ex-Baltic ports as of April 7. Its sources said Unipec had bought another two, but a trader said those cargoes, too, might be sold with Litasco's participation.

Reuters' sources said Surgutneftegas was actively negotiating with other major Urals crude market players, especially international trading houses.

Trafigura has denied reports that it has bought tanker oil from Surgutneftegas in April. The earlier reports that Trafigura bought Urals oil from Surgutneftegas in April were incorrect, Trafigura's press service told Interfax. Market sources had told Interfax earlier that Trafigura had bought two tankers of oil from Surgutneftegas.

Surgutneftegas in a spot tender in October 2021 sold 600,000 tonnes of Urals crude ex-Baltic ports to Norway's Equinor loading one cargo per month in January-June 2022. This is the Russian company's only spot tender contract. Equinor continued to buy this oil in March and April, Reuters said.