Sinopec receives 40 percent cut in Saudi crude supplies in May: source

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China’s Sinopec, Asia’s largest refiner, said its request for a 40 percent cut in Saudi crude oil imports loading in May has been confirmed, an official from the company’s trading arm Unipec said.

Sinopec put in the request earlier this week after national oil company Saudi Aramco set higher-than-expected prices.

“Saudi has confirmed the volume that we nominated,” said the official who declined to be named.

Asian oil traders have struggled to understand how Saudi Arabia derived its official selling prices (OSPs) for May after the world’s top oil exporter unexpectedly raised the price for its flagship Arab Light crude sold to Asian refiners.

Trading sources at two North Asian refineries said on Tuesday they also planned to reduce May orders from Saudi Arabia by 10 percent.

The Saudi Energy Ministry said on Tuesday that the world’s top oil exporter plans to keep its crude oil shipments in May below 7 million barrels per day (bpd) for a 12th consecutive month.

Reporting by Florence Tan; editing by Richard Pullin