MOSCOW (Reuters) - There was no sign of the Urals crude loading plan for January 2020 on Thursday, with four trade and industry sources telling Reuters that a stand-off over Russian oil supplies to Belarus in 2020 was behind the delay.
Traders had expected to see the loading plan by Dec. 25.
Belarus is seeking to pay a lower price for Russian crude next year to compensate for the disruption to flows in the Druzhba pipeline on its territory caused by contaminated oil earlier this year, and changes in Russia’s oil taxation, they added.
Industry sources said that Moscow may increase exports to sea ports in January and cut supplies to Minsk, but could quickly divert flows to Belarus if the oil issue is resolved.
Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft did not respond to a request for comment.
Russia’s Surgutneftegaz surprised the market by offering two 100,000-tonne Urals cargoes from Ust-Luga, an addition to the provisional loading plan for the first half of January.
Surgut offered cargoes for loading in Ust-Luga on Jan. 5-6 and 12-13. The tender closes on Dec. 27 at 1400 Moscow time (1100 GMT).
Olga Yagova, Gleb Gorodyankin; Editing by Kirsten Donovan