UPDATE 1-Pacific Rubiales awards Colombian Vasconia crude tender to Statoil -traders
HOUSTON Feb 20 (Reuters) - Norway's Statoil bought a 500,000 barrel cargo of Colombian Vasconia medium crude, offered this month on the open market by private Canadian oil company Pacific Rubiales and its subsidiaries, traders said on Thursday.
A trader close to the transaction said that the price agreed was $2.80 per barrel over West Texas Intermediate (WTI) average for March.
The cargo will be delivered on March 2-6 at Covenas port, Colombia. The volume sold will come from the Ocensa pipeline that transports oil from Central Colombia to the Caribbean coast, according to the invitation sent by Pacific earlier this month.
Traders said that Statoil could send a VLCC (very large crude carrier) of Vasconia to Asia, after buying several cargoes of the same crude on the open market from Pacific and state-run Ecopetrol.
But the Norwegian company could also use the Vasconia crude to feed refineries in the east coast.
Statoil was not immediately available to comment.
Pacific Rubiales, the largest private oil producer in Colombia with more than a tenth of the country's output, sells 4-6 monthly cargoes of crude on the open market. Since last year it bought another Canadian firm, Petrominerales, it is offering an increasing volume of oil.
Since last year, the Canadian firm is only accepting offers for its cargoes indexed to WTI prices, trying to take advantege of the wide spread it still exists compared to Brent crude.
Its main costumer is the United States, but the company is increasing sales to Europe, looking for better prices while domestic production in North America displaces purchases of foreign oil.