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Gunvor wins biggest oil products deal with Rosneft in years, sources say

Swiss trading house Gunvor will resume trading in large volumes of Russian oil products this year after winning a big tender from Russia’s largest oil firm Rosneft for the first time in eight years, five industry sources told Reuters.

Gunvor won the rights to lift 9 million tonnes of Rosneft’s oil products, the sources said.

Rosneft also chose Trafigura and BP as the other big lifters of products for 2021, the sources added.

Gunvor and Trafigura declined to comment for this report. BP and Rosneft did not respond to requests for comment.

Gunvor had worked closely with Rosneft when businessman Gennady Timchenko, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies, was among the biggest shareholders in the Swiss firm.

Timchenko sold his Gunvor stake in 2014 after the United States imposed sanctions on him over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis.

Since his departure, Gunvor changed strategy, expanding its global presence by buying several oil refineries in Europe and becoming one of the world’s largest gas traders.

Gunvor also sold most of its Russian assets and its trade in Russian fuels fell to 5% of its total volumes in 2020 from 7% in 2019.

Gunvor’s deal to lift 9 million tonnes of products included the right to lift up to 1.5 million tonnes of naphtha and alkylates from the Baltic Sea port of Ust-Luga, the sources said.

It would also load diesel and marine fuel from Russia’s Far East, as well as up to 3.5 million tonnes vacuum gasoil from Tuapse and other Black Sea’s ports, they added.

The sources said Gunvor was probably seeking to buy Russian products to meet its orders after losing a major source of supplies when it mothballed its 110,000 barrel-per-day Antwerp oil refinery in Belgium.

Gunvor’s rival Trafigura took the biggest share of Rosneft’s oil product tenders for 2021, winning the right to handle 15 million to 18 million tonnes of oil products, according to Reuters estimates.

BP will lift more that 5 million tonnes of fuel oil.

Trafigura secured new deals after agreeing to buy a 10% stake in Rosneft’s flagship Vostok Oil project in Russia’s East Siberia and Arctic, where Rosneft estimates there are 6 billion tonnes of oil and gas condensate resources.

Three sources said Gunvor might also seek a role in the Vostok projects but details were not clear.
Source: Reuters (Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Dmitry Zhdannikov and Edmund Blair)

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