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India Tata Power seeks rare LSWR cargo for H1 March

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SINGAPORE, Feb 23 (Reuters) Tata Power has issued a rare tender seeking up to 30,000 tonnes of low-sulphur waxy residue (LSWR) for prompt delivery, at a time of limited supply that may force the Indian utility to pay above market prices, traders said on Thursday.

The utility, which stopped importing LSWR since April 2004 following a switch to coal for its power generation needs, is seeking 28,000-30,000 tonnes of LSWR for March 8-17 delivery to Mumbai on a cost-and-freight (C&F) basis.

The tender closes on Thursday and will remain valid till Feb. 27.

Traders said Tata's unexpected requirement was caused by a disruption to its domestic supply, likely because of a planned refinery turnaround at Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd.

(MRPL), due to start on March 20.

The supply would have to come from Indonesia, the region's largest supplier, traders said. However, March allocations from state-owned Pertamina are at below-average volumes of 1.85 million barrels and have already been fully committed.

''The requirement is quite prompt and it will have to be an end-February or early March-loading parcel at the very latest.

Most, if not all, of the Indonesian March parcels have already been committed,'' a Singapore-based Japanese trader said.

''The February cargoes are already gone and the only possibility would be the two early-March loading cargoes. I suppose they could get it if the price is right. But I very much doubt if they would pay through their noses for it.'' Pertamina allotted two cargoes for early March: a March 2-4 parcel to Shell and a March 7-9 lot to Japan's Mitusi Oil Asia.

The LSWR market is expected to be balanced in March, with demand from Japan, the product's largest consumer, to be steadily waning as the country moves out of a harsher-than-usual winter and with no sudden requirements from its utilities due to unplanned shutdowns of nuclear units.

The utility has been buying less than 80,000 tonnes of fuel oil, including LSWR, each month from domestic refiners since the conversion to coal.

REUTERS SD RK1814

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