* South Africa rarely exports gasoil
* Cargo likely high sulphur -trade sources
* Firm demand for high sulphur draws cargoes east -trade
By Jessica Jaganathan
SINGAPORE, March 15 - South African petroleum company Engen
is set to export a gasoil cargo to Singapore, according to trade
sources and shipping data.
The company has provisionally booked the Torm Horizon to
transport 35,000 tonnes of gasoil to Singapore from Durban,
shipping fixtures showed.
The move would be unusual as South Africa rarely exports
gasoil. Engen did not immediately respond to a request for
The cargo likely comprises high sulphur gasoil whose premium
has risen to a more than three-month high this month due to
prompt demand in Southeast Asia, four traders and shipbrokers
"South Africa is exporting 500 ppm (sulphur gasoil) and
importing the lower sulphur grades," a Singapore-based middle
distillates trader said, declining to be identified as he was
not authorised to speak with the media.
South Africa consumes diesel with 10 parts-per-million (ppm)
sulphur in its domestic market, he added.
A refinery typically exports high sulphur gasoil when a
secondary unit is under maintenance and is unable to process the
fuel to make low sulphur diesel, traders said.
The price spread between diesel with 10 ppm sulphur and 500
ppm sulphur gasoil narrowed to 5 cents a barrel in late
November, its tightest in more than three years, before widening
slightly this year, Reuters data shows.
The gap between the two grades narrowed due to a flood of
supply of low sulphur diesel from China, while Southeast Asian
countries are still consuming the higher sulphur grade, traders
This in turn is pulling gasoil cargoes from the Middle East
and India into Singapore, when they typically used to head to
Europe or Africa, they added.
(Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan; Editing by Joseph Radford)