Indian Oil Corp. (IOC), the country’s largest refiner, has issued a tender to buy heavy crude, its second in a month, as it prepares to bring onstream a new blending facility, traders said on Monday.
Grade offers in the tender, which is for May-loadingcargoes, are due on Tuesday and are to remain valid until Thursday, traders said.
IOC issued a similar tender last month, and bought up to 800,000 barrels of April-loading Neutral Zone Ratawi crude, a grade it has rarely bought in the past.
The refiner bought the cargo from U.S. major Chevron at around a $6.85-6.90 (Rs301-303.6)-a-barrel discount to Dubai quotes, traders said at the time.
Traders said IOC will buy more heavy sour crude once it completes a facility at Mundra that will be used to blend crude for the Panipat refinery.
The facility was due to be ready last month or this month. “It may be onstream by this month,” a Singapore-based trader said.
The capacity of IOC’s Panipat refinery was doubled last year to 240,000 barrels per day(bpd)and traders said IOC would likely issue similar tenders on a regular basis once the blending facility, and new storage, are completed.
IOC, which has about 10 refineries spread across India with a total capacity of 1.204 million bpd, tenders several times a month to buy crude, mainly West African grades..