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Ukraine imports Libyan crude for 1st time

Ukraine imports Libyan crude for 1st time

Tripoli, November 14 - Neftegaz.RU. Libya's crude has found a rare home in Ukraine, as the Eastern European country seeks cheaper alternatives as values of some light sweet crudes soar, Platts reported. Ukraine relies heavily on Azerbaijan's Azeri Light crude which is light, sweet and middle distillate-rich. But Azeri Light premiums to Dated Brent have reached 8-year highs in recent weeks, pushing Ukraine to seek more economical substitutes.

The Odessa port authority received 81,282 mt of oil from Libya's Zawiya terminal this week, its 1st import of crude from the North African country. The Prometheus Energy tanker discharged the Libyan crude November 9-11 in Odessa, and was offshore Sevastopol as off Wednesday morning, according to data from Platts trade flow software cFlow.

"Loading oil ... began on the evening of November 9 and went through three lines," Vyacheslav Lavrenyuk, deputychief dispatcher of the port, said in a statement.

Cheaper alternatives
Libya's El Sharara crude which loads from Zawiya is similar in quality Azeri Light and is known for its high middle distillate yields. Azeri Light has been trading at over eight-year highs recently as demand for this light sweet grade has soared, boosted by robust middle distillate cracks and the greater appeal of such grades ahead of the International Maritime Organization's global 0.5% sulfur cap in marine fuel from 2020.

Azerbaijan's light sweet crude has been attracting premiums of over $5/b to Platts Dated Brent in recent weeks, the highest since September 2011. Earlier this week, Azeri Light was offered at Dated Brent plus $6/b. In July, Ukraine imported a cargo of Bakken Blend, which was its first purchase of US crude.

Ukrtatnafta refinery
The Odessa oil terminal, which is capable of handling 25 million mt annually, has previously taken oil shipments from Russia, Kazakhstan and Venezuela. Volumes dropped significantly after Russia reduced supplies to Ukraine. This port is connected to the Kremenchuk-based oil refinery UkrTatNafta via the Odessa-Kremenchuk oil pipeline.

UkrTatNafta has been struggling in recent years due to lack of supplies, mostly focusing on tanker shipments from Azerbaijan. The company is one of the 2 oil refineries in operation in Ukraine. The refinery can process about 18.6 million mt/year of crude, but its annual refining has not exceeded 2.5 million mt/year over the past several years.

Ukraine imported 269,400 mt of crude oil worth $138.1 million in January-June, according to the state customs service. Azerbaijan supplied 98.2% of the country's total oil imports in the period.

Author: Rosemary Griffin

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