LONDON Feb 28 Russia's Bashneft agreed to sell oil and refined products worth more than $5 billion to Vitol, it said on Thursday, in a move that will cement the Swiss trading firm's role in the world's largest oil-producing country.
Mid-sized oil company Bashneft will sell a maximum of $2.666 billion worth of crude oil to Vitol by the end of November 2014 and $2.491 billion worth of oil products by the end of August 2016.
The deal signals a departure from Bashneft's previous practice of selling the lion's share of volumes to trader Souz Petrolium, which is affiliated with Russian port investor Summa Capital and magnate Ziyavudin Magomedov.
"We are expanding the number of traders we work with to boost efficiency of oil exports," a Bashneft spokesman said.
Bashneft produces around 300,000 barrels of crude per day and exports around 90,000 bpd or 4.4 million tonnes a year.
The deal with Vitol will allow the trader to buy a maximum of 3.3 million tonnes of crude from Bashneft over the next 21 months under current prices, according to Reuters calculations or just under a half of Bashneft's daily crude exports.
Vitol and rival Glencore are already the main exporters of Russian oil through term deals with state oil major Rosneft.
The two trading firms have agreed to lend $10 billion to Rosneft under a five-year supply deal, and deliveries are expected to begin in the second quarter.
Vitol also often markets crude from Kazakhstan and from other Russian producers such as Surgut. (Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Jane Baird)