Russia’s Rosneft ramps up oil sales to Indian Oil in May -traders

FILE PHOTO: Rosneft logo is pictured on a safety helmet in Vung Tau

(Reuters) -Russia’s Rosneft sold 700,000 tonnes of Urals oil loading from Baltic ports of Primorsk and Ust-Luga in May to Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the country’s top refiner, two traders familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.

State-owned Rosneft allocated seven 100,000-tonne cargoes loading between May 15 and 31 to IOC, according to the traders.

Flows of Urals crude to India have risen since Moscow’s actions in Ukraine in February, according to Refinitiv Eikon data, as Western sanctions push Russian exports toward Asia.

The European Union’s executive proposed a Russian oil embargo on Wednesday as part of its sixth and harshest round of sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine conflict, which Russia calls a “special military operation.”

In May IOC will load Rosneft-sourced Urals oil volumes from Baltic ports for the first time. Previously the major buyers of the cargoes were trading firms Vitol and Trafigura.

However, international traders will stop purchases of oil from Rosneft after May 15 as EU sanctions over several Russian companies come into effect.

Last December IOC and Rosneft signed a term contract for supply of up to 2 million tonnes of Urals oil until the end of 2022.

Under the agreement IOC has bought several Urals cargoes from the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk this year.

It was not immediately clear if the May supplies come as a part of the existing contract or as a part of the new agreement.

Last week Reuters sources said that Rosneft was negotiating supply deals with several Indian refiners including IOC.

Rosneft and Indian oil representatives did not immediately reply to Reuters requests for comment.

India has asked state-run energy companies to evaluate the possibility of buying European oil major BP’s stake in sanctions-hit Rosneft, two people familiar with the matter said in late April.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Jason Neely and Louise Heavens)