India's Essar sells diesel cargoes, first export since 2010
* India's Essar Oil sells two diesel cargoes -sources
* Sold at premiums $4.60-$4.70/barrel above Middle East quotes
* One cargo awarded to Saudi Aramco Products Trading Company
NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE, Sept 19 (Reuters) - India's privately owned Essar Oil has sold two diesel cargoes in what would be its first exports in nearly two years, as domestic demand slowed due to heavy rainfall this month, industry sources said on Wednesday.
Below-average rains had last month curbed hydropower generation, boosting agricultural demand for diesel to power irrigation systems, and prompting imports into the country.
But a recent pickup in monsoon rains has curbed domestic demand for diesel, prompting Essar's rare sale, traders said.
Essar Oil had initially offered one cargo of up to 70,000 tonnes of diesel with 500 parts-per-million (ppm) sulphur for Sept. 22-Oct. 6 loading from Vadinar through a tender last week, but later sold two cargoes instead, the sources said.
The cargoes were sold at premiums of $4.60-$4.70 a barrel above Middle East quotes, the sources added. One of the cargoes was awarded to Saudi Aramco Products Trading Company while the other could have gone to Hess Energy, traders said.
This was also the first time that Essar Oil has sold a diesel cargo to the newly set up Saudi Aramco Products Trading Company, they added.
The sale to Hess Energy could not be confirmed.
Essar Oil supplies diesel mainly to Indian public sector refiners and the last time it is known to have exported diesel was in October 2010.
Essar Oil upgraded its refinery to process 405,000 barrels of oil a day, or about 9 percent of India's refining capacity, and raised complexity to handle cheaper heavy grades in June.
The refinery produces about 9-10 million tonnes of diesel a year and is able to produce Euro-V compliant fuel, sources said.
Most of this is sold to Indian state-owned refiners and the rest to Essar's retail network of 1,600 fuel pumps in India.
Essar Oil has no immediate plans to export diesel regularly, India-based sources said.
Source : reuters.com