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2019-09-04 18:15:00



PLATTS - Russia's exports of medium sweet ESPO Blend crude oil are expected to total 3.12 million mt in October, up 30% from September, according to the latest monthly loading program.

ESPO Blend's October program runs from September 30 to November 1 and will comprise 30 cargoes -- 27 of which are 100,000 mt each and three are 140,000 mt cargoes each -- and will average 698,691 b/d, according S&P Global Platts calculations using a conversion factor of 7.39.

State-owned Rosneft holds 10 cargoes for October up from nine in September, and has sold four for loading over October 1-6, October 6-11, October 11-16 and October 21-26 via tenders, which were awarded at premiums ranging between $5.70-$5.90/b over Platts front-month Dubai crude assessments on an FOB basis.

Russia's Surgutneftegaz on the other hand holds eight cargoes for October loading, up from seven in September, and has sold all of them via tenders.

Two 100,000 mt cargoes for loading over September 30-October 5 and October 2-7 were sold to a Chinese major at a premium of around $5.85/b to Platts Dubai, traders said.

Surgut sold the remaining 600,000 mt of ESPO Blend crude via tender for loading over October 8-12, October 12-16, October 16-20, October 18-22, October 22-26 and October 26-30 at premiums ranging between $5.50-$5.70/b over Platts Dubai. The buyers were heard to have been oil majors and trading houses.

Russia's Gazprom Neft holds two cargoes for October loading, one 100,000 mt cargo and the other 140,000 mt in size. The 100,000 mt cargo, for loading over October 3-13, was sold via tender at a premium of around $5.90/b to Platts Dubai, while the 140,000 mt size cargo was heard sold at a premium of around $4.90-$5/b to Platts Dubai, according to trade sources.

Russia's Lukoil has two 140,000 mt size cargoes for October loading, while Switzerland-based Tenergy holds eight 100,000 mt cargoes for October loading, according to the program.

Premiums for October-loading ESPO barrels traded in July reached close to 10-month highs supported by healthy demand from China -- the most favored destination for ESPO Blend and better refining margins for Middle distillate rich grades.

"Demand from China is looking robust...its been quite healthy for the last couple of months," a Singapore crude trader said.

The average run rate at China's state-owned refiners Sinopec, PetroChina, Sinochem and China National Offshore Oil Corp., recovered further to 82% in August from 81% in July, a monthly survey by S&P Global Platts showed late August.

This was the third monthly consecutive recovery, after falling to a 12-month low of 78% in May.

Moreover crude imports from Russia for China's independent refineries rose 71.1% month on month to 2.23 million mt to top the crude suppliers list for August, according to a monthly Platts survey.

95.7% of Russian crude imports in August comprised of ESPO Blend crude. Firm sales of gasoil increased the demand for ESPO as a feedstock, sources said.

The Singapore October gasoil crack against the Dubai swap has averaged $17.44/b in August, compared with an average of $16.71/b in July, Platts data showed.



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