MOSCOW Russia will sell its first tanker of Siberian oil from a new Pacific port in December as Moscow seeks to conquer Asian markets and warn Europe that competition for energy resources is rising.
Traders told Reuters on Tuesday Russian leaders will attend the tanker-loading ceremony at the port of Kozmino, which will mark the launch of the Pacific branch of Russia's first pipeline to Asia.
"I can bet it will be a heavy political show. One aim will be to tell Europe -- we can sell our energy to Asia, so be careful when not supporting our new pipelines," said a trading source with knowledge of the detail of the tender.
"The other goal would be to show to China that the Asian pipeline is now ready. Both branches of it. So if there are problems in supplies to China there is always the option to divert oil to the Pacific," he added.
The tanker will belong to state-run oil firm Rosneft, which called a tender to sell 100,000 metric tons of ESPO crude, called after the acronym of Russia's first pipeline to China and the Pacific, from the new Pacific port of Kozmino.
Sources said Rosneft is seeking a premium to the regional benchmark Dubai crude. The cargo will load on December 27-29.
The Chinese branch of the ESPO pipeline is due to supply China with 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil, which must be priced at a formula based on prices from Kozmino on the Pacific.
(Writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov, Editing by Ramthan Hussain)