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BPCL adds to India's US crude purchases: Update

17 Jul 2017 16:44 (+01:00 GMT)
BPCL adds to India's US crude purchases: Update

Adds details on second BPCL tender in paragraph 3

Delhi, 17 July (Argus) — Indian state-controlled refiner Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) has bought US crude for the first time, adding to Asia-Pacific demand for US supplies.

BPCL bought 500,000 bl each of high-sulphur Mars and Poseidon crude for delivery in late September and early October. It earlier this month issued a tender seeking up to 1mn bl of US sour crude grades such as Mars, Poseidon, Thunder Horse and Southern Green Canyon, among others.

BPCL is also seeking North American grades including US Bakken crude and Eagle Ford 45°API condensate, as well as Canadian grades Premium Albian Synthetic and Syncrude Sweet Premium, in a tender for cargoes arriving on 11-31 October. The tender closes on 2 August.

US crude has become increasingly competitive for buyers in India since the country's established suppliers in the Middle East — such as Saudi Arabia — have curbed supplies, putting upward pressure on benchmark prices.

BPCL is the second Indian company to buy US crude this month. State-controlled IOC, the country's biggest refiner, issued its first-ever spot tender to buy high-sulphur crude from North America earlier in July. IOC sought 2mn bl, and purchased 1.6mn bl of Mars and 400,000 bl of Western Canadian Select (WCS) from Chinese state-controlled trading firm ChinaOil.

Other large Indian refiners may turn to US crude, encouraged by efforts by the countries' leaders to push "fair and reciprocal" trade. Indian demand could be supported by relatively cheap US crude, compared with for example Iraqi Basrah Heavy or other Mideast Gulf supplies.

IOC bought the US crude for its 300,000 b/d Paradip refinery, which is capable of processing heavy and sour crudes. WCS has been at least as competitive as Iraqi Basrah Heavy to bring to Asia-Pacific.

IOC plans to buy US crude in very large crude carriers (VLCCs) to benefit from economies of scale, likely making its purchases from the US Gulf even more economic. WCS and Mars compete with heavy sour Latin American crude in the Indian market.