Mexico's Pemex in talks with Asian buyers over crude oil quality
By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Osamu Tsukimori
SINGAPORE/TOKYO, April 14 (Reuters) - Mexican oil firm Pemex says it is in talks with buyers in Japan and South Korea over the chloride content of its crude and would offer discounts if the level of the chemical that can cause corrosion was higher than usual.
State-run Pemex said last month it would export about 4 million barrels via five cargoes of its Isthmus crude to South Korea between January and April 2015, with most of that going to Hyundai Oilbank and the rest to GS Caltex. Japan also imports Mexican crude.
With Pemex's sale price, known as an official selling price (OSP), for its Isthmus crude set at a discount to a basket of oil benchmarks of $5.45-$7.85 a barrel between January and April, the five cargoes have a cash value of some $200 million.
Three of those cargoes have been received in Asia and refinery sources said they contain unusually high levels of potentially damaging chloride. A fourth cargo is due to be delivered this month.
P.M.I. Comercio Internacional, Pemex's commercial arm, said it was in discussions with refiners in Japan and South Korea regarding measurements of chloride in its shipments, and that price reductions could be offered if the chloride content turned out higher than specified.
"We are working with them (Japanese and South Korean refiners), and working to see what their measurements were compared to ours," Jose Manuel Carrera, chief executive officer of P.M.I. Comercio Internacional, told Reuters by telephone.
"If the chloride is higher than what we specified, of course the price comes down a little bit... I sold it at a normal price, and if it turns out that effectively it has that or another component which is outside of the specifications, there is a commercial adjustment which is stipulated in the contracts," he added.
It was not clear whether Pemex would be obliged to give discounts due to any heightened chloride content or if it was considering a rebate out of goodwill. Continuación...