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Oman: Unipec emerged as a significant seller of Oman crude in August, playing a pivotal role in capping benchmark prices despite Saudi Arabia’s planned output reduction.

The trading arm of Sinopec, Unipec, has successfully sold 8 million barrels of Oman crude since the beginning of June, primarily through S&P Global’s trading platform, Platts Window.

Additionally, Unipec and other Chinese refiners have been diversifying their crude oil sources, importing more barrels from Russia, West Africa, the United States, and Brazil as per Reuters data.

Sinopec did not provide details on the sales or the underlying reasons. The buyers of the Oman cargoes include Totsa, PetroChina Hong Kong, Shell, and Trafigura.

Remarkably, the surge in Oman crude sales by Unipec coincided with Saudi Arabia’s unexpected decision on June 4. The decision was to reduce July output by 1 million barrels per day, coupled with an increase in official selling prices. However, the Unipec trades played a vital role in keeping spot premiums of Dubai benchmark prices below $1 per barrel for most of June.

Unipec had not engaged in such extensive sales of Oman crude in May, with monthly sales typically below 2.5 million barrels of Middle Eastern crude. However, June witnessed a projected rise in crude deliveries to China, with Kpler and Vortexa data indicating a record high of 30 million barrels of U.S. crude imports and over 32 million barrels of West African crude set to reach China. This data was taken from Reuters.

Unipec’s strategic maneuvering and China’s shifting crude oil sources have markedly reshaped the market dynamics. As China’s demand and crude imports continue to evolve, industry observers eagerly await the next developments in this dynamic energy landscape.