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Asia Crude-Indian BPCL buys April Nigerian, Masila

By Staff
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SINGAPORE, Feb 22 (Reuters) Indian state-run refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp. (BPCL) bought two cargoes of Nigerian crude in its April tender, shrugging off militant violence that has disrupted supplies there, a company source said on Wednesday.

BPCL purchased 950,000 barrels of April-loading Yoho crude from U.S. major ExxonMobil and 600,000 barrels of Antan crude from European trader Glencore. Price details were not disclosed.

It also bought a 500,000-barrel cargo of Yemeni Masila crude each for April and May loading, from Canadian trader Nexen and European trader Vitol respectively, the source added. But BPCL opted not to award a one-year tender for the Yemeni medium-sulphur grade.

''There is no problem with these (Nigerian) grades,'' the source said in reference to the latest flare-up of violence in the Niger Delta.

Royal Dutch Shell, Nigeria's biggest foreign producer, shut in 455,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil production from Forcados and EA over the weekend, equivalent to 19 per cent of the OPEC member nation's output, after attacks by militants.

The militants, which first disrupted supplies in January, have vowed to prevent Shell from using the damaged Forcados export-loading platform and threatened to attack oil tankers in their campaign for more control over revenues.

Loadings at ExxonMobil's 150,000-bpd Yoho terminal were suspended briefly last month on fears of attacks by militants, a shipping agent said at the time.

BPCL did not make any award in its term tender to buy Masila on a monthly basis for the May 2006 to March 2007 period, but may reissue the tender.

''We did not find the price to our liking,'' the source said.

The refiner had bought 500,000 barrels of Dubai crude for March arrival in its previous monthly tender.

BPCL, India's fourth-largest refiner with a daily crude throughput of around 180,000 barrels, buys Masila crude through spot and semi-term tenders on a regular basis. It also tenders every month to buy sweet and/or sour crude.

REUTERS SD PM1611

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