May 10, 2018 / 2:40 PM / 9 months ago

IOC buys three million barrels June-loading U.S. crude as arbitrage opens

A woman walks past a logo of Indian Oil outside a fuel station in New Delhi, India, August 29, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files

NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Indian state-refiner Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has bought 3 million barrels of U.S. crude for loading in June as the arbitrage for American oil to Asia has opened, a senior source privy to the deal said.

IOC, the country’s top refiner, has bought 2 million barrels of Louisiana Light Sweet crude and a million barrels of WTI Midland through tender for arrival in July, said the source. The source did not wish to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The source said U.S. crude competed with other middle eastern and African grades in an open tender. The source declined to reveal the prices and identity of the seller.

However, trade sources said Chinaoil sold the WTI Midland cargo while Trafigura sold the LLS crude.

Rising production and supplies from the United States have stretched the discount between U.S. crude futures to Brent to $6 a barrel, making arbitrage economics feasible for India to import U.S. crude, they said.

Separately, IOC has also bought 1 million barrels of Banoco Arab Medium crude in another tender from Shell, the sources said.

Reporting by Nidhi Verma and Florence Tan; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Gopakumar Warrier

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