* Contract with India will boost oil trade
* Lukoil will deliver the MTBE at the U.S. Gulf Coast
By Marianna Parraga
HOUSTON, Dec 19 State-run Petroleos de Venezuela
(PDVSA) awarded a tender to import up to 2.88 million barrels of
alkylate from Indian refiner Reliance and another one
to buy up to 8.64 million barrels of MTBE from Russian oil
company Lukoil, traders told Reuters on Thursday.
The tenders, launched by PDVSA in late November to buy its
annual supply of components for motor gasoline and intermediate
fuels for mixing with heavy crudes, guarantees some 42,000
barrel per day (bpd) of products that the company will use
The price agreed by PDVSA and Reliance for the alkylate is
23-30 cents per gallon over the U.S. Gulf Coast waterborne
price, one of the traders said.
"It's an expensive price, but it is really difficult to find
a provider for a whole year of alkylate supply," he said. The
trader added that PDVSA received more than one offer for that
PDVSA was not immediately available to comment.
Reliance and other foreign companies have been selling
alkylate to PDVSA in recent years, mostly through occasional
tenders on the open market.
The contract between PDVSA and Reliance deepens trade ties
that have grown in recent years as an increasing supply of
Venezuelan crude flows to India. According to PDVSA's official
figures, crude sales to India doubled to 366,000 bpd in 2012
compared to 165,000 bpd the previous year.
The terms agreed with Lukoil for the purchase of up to 36
cargoes of MTBE (Methyl Tert-Butyl Ether), which is used to
oxygenate gasoline, include that the product will be delivered
from the U.S. Gulf Coast, the sources said. They did not
detailed the price agreed.
A subsidiary in the United States of trading firm Noble
Group provided MTBE to PDVSA in recent years. Even
though Venezuela locally produces some volume of MTBE, it is not
enough to formulate 300,000 bpd of motor gasoline demanded by
the domestic market.
PDVSA this month said that is studying an increase in retail
gasoline prices after 15 years without any adjustments - which
makes the Venezuelan motor fuels the world's cheapest and leaves
the state-run company with losses from heavy subsidies.
Venezuela imported from the United States an average of
87,000 bpd of refined products between January and September,
compared to 70,000 bpd in the same period of 2012, according to
the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
A severe explosion at its main plant, the 645,000 bpd Amuay
at the Venezuelan western coast, has affected its refining
network since August 2012, forcing it to increase purchases.