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SINGAPORE, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Mangalore Refinery and
Petrochemicals Ltd, a major buyer of Iranian oil, has
floated a tender after a gap of nearly five months seeking sour
crude for lifting in March.
The refiner last issued a tender for high sulphur oil in
August, when it bought October- and November-loading sour grades
to replace Iran supplies that were hit by Western sanctions.
An MRPL source said the tender is not an indication of any
supply glitches. "We want to test the market for high sulphur
oil," the source said.
The tender document showed MRPL is seeking supply in a
650,000 barrels parcel, indicating delays to the commissioning
of its single point mooring (SPM), a facility that allow it to
handle larger vessel and save on freight cost.
The SPM is important for MRPL as it has been struggling to
import all of its 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) in crude under
annual contract with Iran, which not have enough small vessels
to serve the Mangalore port.
"We don't know when the SPM will be fully commissioned," the
source said, who did not wish to be identified.
Sources last week said that MRPL had delayed the start-up of
its SPM to end-January or later due to technical and insurance
problems. [ID: nL4N0AJ6QJ]
MRPL launched a trial run of its new facility earlier this
month, but abandoned it after a leak was found, sources said.
MRPL's tender for sour crude loading in the second half of
March will close on Jan. 28 and will be valid until Jan. 30, the
MRPL has received a suezmax, the Cape Bastia, from Trafigura
containing a million barrels of Equatorial Guinea's Zafiro crude
hoping the SPM will be commissioned by end-December. It is not
yet clear how the company will unload the vessel.
Mangalore Port Trust's website shows operational constraints
for the Cape Bastia, which arrived on Jan 13 and is still
waiting at anchor.
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; editing by Jason Neely)