MOSCOW (Reuters) - India remains the main destination for Russia's seaborne Urals oil, with about 70% of such exports heading to the country, Reuters monitoring and data from two industry sources showed on Monday.
Attractive prices for Urals mean good margins for Indian refiners while term contracts between Russian and Indian companies and lower freight rates are also helping keep supplies elevated, one of the sources said.
Last month Russia's Rosneft and Indian Oil Corp announced a supply deal for up to 1.5 million tonnes of Russian oil (11 million barrels) per month from April 1.
Urals oil shipments to China, meanwhile, have not increased significantly in April. In the first ten days of the month just one 100,000-tonne cargo was fixed for shipment to the country's ports, although traders noted that Chinese refineries were asking for late April-early May loading cargoes.
Some 280,000 tonnes of Urals will be sent to China from the Al-Hoceima ship-to-ship (STS) facility off the coast of Morocco, to which the oil was supplied in March. "China is buying Urals, but not as actively as was expected," a trade source involved in Russian oil trading said. "Refiners in other Asia-Pacific countries are also interested, but many are still afraid of sanctions, so marketing is slow," they added. Urals deliveries to STS facilities in the Mediterranean continue to decline, with no cargoes shipped so far in April.
Russia's Gazpromneft shipped 140,000 tonnes of Urals from Novorossiisk to Myanmar in April, having supplied it for the first time in March.
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)