MOSCOW, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Rosneft said on Monday it has awarded a big semi-annual crude tender to Glencore and Vitol, confirming reports that trading house Gunvor, seen as a Kremlin favourite, had been left empty-handed for the first time.
The result has sparked intense debate in the industry over whether Gunvor's co-owner Gennady Timchenko is out of favour with the Kremlin - or whether the firm is merely fine-tuning its strategy before embarking on yet another phase of spectacular growth.
Earlier this month, trading sources told Reuters that Glencore had won all the Urals crude volumes from the newly built Ust-Luga terminal in the Baltic Sea, while Vitol had won all the cargoes from Novorossiisk on the Black Sea.
Shell, Vitol and Glencore have split volumes from Primorsk, Russia's largest Black Sea port.
In a rare comment on its tenders, Rosneft said on Monday that it would "look forward" to the participation of Gunvor affiliate Warly International, as well as other companies, including BP, Marubeni, Total and Trafigura, in future tenders.