Rare shipment of US oil goes to South Africa Ship’s crew

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HOUSTON, May 19 (Reuters) – A shipment of US oil is heading to South Africa for the first time in two years, destined for a Glencore-owned refinery in Cape Town, which has resumed operations after an explosion in 2020, ship tracking data and a Source.

US oil exports hit a record 4.5 million barrels per day this year as competitive prices for US grades and China’s post-COVID-19 reopening have boosted global oil demand.

According to ship tracking information from Refinitiv Eikon and energy data provider Kpler, the light sweet oil tanker Sonangol Porto Amboim left Corpus Christi, Texas on May 16 bound for Saldanha Bay on the west coast of South Africa.

South Africa gets most of its oil from West and Central Africa and Saudi Arabia, according to Kpler data. But competitive US crude prices and changes in oil flows since the Russian invasion of Ukraine have opened up new markets. The last shipment of US oil went to South Africa in May 2021, US customs data showed.

The 850,000-barrel West Texas Light shipment was bought by Swiss commodities trader Glencore GLEN.L, a person familiar with the matter said.

Glencore’s majority-owned Astron Energy has resumed production at its 100,000 barrels-per-day Cape Town refinery nearly three years after a deadly explosion shut down operations and killed two workers.

Glencore declined to comment on the delivery. Astron confirmed that the refinery has been brought back online as part of a phased process and is producing at planned capacity.

Astron, which has the second-largest fuel retail network in southern Africa, sources its oil from tankers unloading in Saldanha Bay and pipelines the oil to the Cape Town refinery, according to the refiner’s website.

(Reporting by Arathy Somasekhar in Houston, additional reporting by Wendell Roelf in Cape Town; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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