Vietnam’s Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical has bought one million barrels of Bonny Light crude in its first-ever import of Nigerian crude, two trade sources and a senior company executive told Reuters at the weekend.
Binh Son bought the crude cargo in mid-August for delivery in October-November for its 130,000-barrel-per-day Dung Quat refinery, according to the sources, all of whom declined to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media.
“This is the first batch of crude oil we have imported from Nigeria for the plant,” said the company executive, who declined to reveal further details. We haven’t decided yet if we will keep importing Nigerian crude in the future.”
Binh Son, Vietnam’s first refinery, is stepping up efforts to reduce its dependence on the country’s dwindling domestic crude supply and widen its purchase options. Vietnam has been relying more on imported crude due to a slowdown in domestic output as its reserves decline at existing fields, and China’s increasingly assertive stance in the region hampers offshore exploration.
The country’s crude oil imports for the January-August period more than doubled from a year earlier to 5.57 million tonnes, as its domestic oil output fell 6.9 per cent, official data show.
Last month, Binh Son’s Vice-CEO, Nguyen Van Hoi, said the company would import two million to three million barrels of U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude in the second half of this year for the refinery.
Price levels for West African crude grades like Bonny Light are competitive compared with regional sweet, or low-sulphur, crude grades in the Asian markets, said the two trade sources. Oil major, BP, likely sold the cargo to Binh Son, according to other trader sources.