(Updates with information from London and Paraguana, details)
By Marianna Parraga and Libby George
HOUSTON/LONDON, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Oil and trading firms BP , Noble Group and Vitol are among companies offering gasoline and ultra low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) cargoes to Venezuela’s PDVSA, traders said on Tuesday as refinery outages force the state-run company to make its biggest unplanned products buy since 2012.
PDVSA is seeking up to eight 300,000 barrel cargoes of ULSD and gasoline RON 91 and 95 to be received by Nov. 17. The 2.4 million barrels of refined products would fill a gap left by a days-long outage at its 955,000 barrel-per-day Paraguana Refining Center (CRP) that is expected to end on Thursday.
It would be difficult for a single provider to gather eight cargoes in a week to be sold to PDVSA, so several suppliers are needed for a total purchase that could top $280 million, the traders told Reuters.
One gasoline cargo sold by Spain’s Repsol to Noble Group in October, slated to be shipped across the Atlantic, could be rerouted to Venezuela, one of the traders said.
Vitol and BP also have cargoes at sea that could be detoured to Venezuelan ports in the coming days, the traders added. BP is a regular supplier to Venezuela, with two 300,000-barrel fuel cargoes - on the Mariposa and Transsib Bridge - having sailed from New York Harbor in recent weeks, according to vessel tracking data via ThomsonReuters Eikon.
“Many barrels from the Mediterranean and northwest Europe might divert to Venezuela,” a gasoline trader said.
Venezuela’s surprising requests since Friday have boosted gasoline and diesel markets in the United States, which has become a large exporter, and Europe.
In Europe, distillates such as diesel are currently in short supply due to strong demand, a closed arbitrage from the United States and a slow restart for several refineries, making it an unlikely source for Venezuela’s request.
But cargoes of gasoline, which are structurally long in Europe, are more likely to move from Europe to Venezuela, particularly those that were already sailing for the United States or the Caribbean.
Besides power problems that affected the CRP, PDVSA’s smallest refinery, the 146,000 bpd El Palito, has its catalytic cracker out of service for extended maintenance, workers told Reuters on Tuesday. (Reporting by Marianna Parraga in Houston and Libby George in London; Additional reporting by Kristen Hays in Houston and Sailu Urribarri in Paraguana, Venezuela; Editing by Terry Wade and Bernard Orr)