Singapore - Engen has turned to top oil exporter Saudi
Aramco for additional crude after South Africa's biggest buyer of Iranian crude
halted imports from the Islamic Republic, trade sources said on Wednesday.
Engen, majority owned by Malaysian national oil company
Petronas, will replace about half of the Iranian volumes with Saudi supplies
and the remaining will be filled up from the spot market, mainly from West
Africa, the sources said.
The refiner suspended an annual contract for 50,000 barrels
per day of Iranian crude in March, joining a growing list of buyers bowing to
Western pressure to cut business dealings with Tehran to isolate the country.
"The (Saudi) volume is on a spot basis and it does not
fully cover their Iranian term volume," a source familiar with the Saudi
Refiners would be able to replace Iranian crude with ease at
this point as the market is well supplied with most other Opec members ramping
up output while weak margins and a peak refinery maintenance season curb
Saudi Arabia has ramped up production to prevent oil prices
from skyrocketing and pledged to fill the vacuum left by Iran as tightening
sanctions from the United States and European Union deter buyers from lifting
Engen is seeking mainly West African grades from the spot
market to cover other import needs, they said.
The company had booked the tanker Bouboulina to load 950,000
barrels of Angolan Girassol crude on April 17, a shipping fixture showed.
Engen could not be immediately reached for comment.
Petronas has also stopped buying Iranian crude for its
Petronas has turned to the Middle East spot crude market to
replace the Iranian supply of about 10,000 bpd, sources said.
"Malacca is quite a dynamic refinery as it can take a
lot of grades," a source said, adding that the company can choose from a
variety of Middle Eastern grades.
Some of the other grades that Malacca can use include Dubai,
Eocene and Egyptian Belayim, a second source said.
Petronas has booked the tanker Stavanger Bay to load on May
8 about 500,000 barrels of Belayim crude from Wadi Feiran, a shipping fixture
showed. The tanker is scheduled to head to Malacca.