TODAY.AZ / Business

Asia Crude-India Hindustan makes rare Azeri purchase

22 May 2006 [13:29] - TODAY.AZ
India's state-run refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL) has bought 1 million barrels of Azerbaijan's Azeri Light crude in a tender for July loading.

It may be the first time Hindustan has bought Azeri Light, traders said. The company's rival, Bharat Petroleum, bought the grade on two occasions over the past year.

A trader said European major BP had sold the cargo at a $2-a-barrel premium to dated Brent on a delivered basis, but this could not be confirmed.

"The price makes sense from the new BTC pipeline," a Singapore-based trader said.

The long-delayed start of the BP-led Baku-Ceyhan pipeline is set for July 13, while a trial cargo with Azeri crude will be loaded from the Mediterranean terminal at the end of May, Azeri Energy and Industries Minister Natik Aliyev said earlier this month.

The 1,768 km (1,100-mile) pipeline from Azerbaijan to Turkey will eventually pump over 1 million barrels per day (bpd) to world markets, carrying 300,000 bpd this year before reaching capacity in 2008.

Hindustan did not buy any crude in its previous monthly tender, shying away from costly West African grades.

Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) and Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) also diversified their purchases this month.

Bharat made a rare purchase of Malaysian Miri crude on the spot market and stayed away from West African crude, after having made no spot purchase in its previous monthly tender.

IOC finally returned to its usual diet of West African grades last week, buying close to four million barrels of West African crude, but it also bought Brunei and Malaysian crude, an unusual move for the state oil refiner, Reuters reports.


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