Latam oil producers look to Asia for sales amid U.S. refinery maintenance

Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:56pm EDT
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By Marianna Parraga

HOUSTON Oct 18 (Reuters) - Latin American crude exporters are sending more oil to Asia after ramping up tenders to get rid of stocks that have swollen on refinery maintenance this quarter in the Americas.

At least six companies have sold their South American output via tenders for more than 20 cargoes in recent weeks as refineries in the region cut their normal purchases due to seasonal autumn turnarounds.

Canada's Pacific Rubiales, Colombia's Ecopetrol , Ecuador's Petroecuador and Argentina's Pluspetrol and Pan American Energy have gone to the open market since September to sell large volumes of crudes.

They will be delivered in November and December to a widening number of Asian companies, along with typical U.S. buyers, according to traders.

"Most Latin American producers are long crude right now because in November the global refining system will have almost 8 million barrels per day out of service, in comparison to an average outages of 1.5 million barrels per day," an oil company trading executive who works in Colombia told Reuters.

In the United States, crude oil input at refineries had already declined to 14.98 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first week of October, 1 million bpd less than the previous month, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Even without the seasonal work, U.S. imports of Latin American crude have been in decline, displaced by rising domestic shale supplies and imports from neighboring Canada.

In the first seven months of 2013, supplies of Latin American crude to the United States fell 14.2 percent compared with 2012, the EIA added, and preliminary figures for September from August show further declines for imports of Colombian, Mexican and Brazilian crudes.   Continued...