By Olga Yagova and Gleb Gorodyankin
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has stepped up efforts to squeeze Russia’s Urals oil grade out of its main markets by offering its own cheap barrels instead after their long-standing deal to support global oil prices fell apart, seven oil sources said.
Market sources told Reuters that Saudi Aramco is trying to replace Urals in refiners’ feedstock around the world, from Europe to India.
State-controlled Saudi Aramco is in talks with European refiners including big buyers of Urals oil including Finland’s Neste Oil, Sweden’s Preem, France’s Total, BP, Azerbaijan’s SOCAR, Italy’s Eni, the sources said.
The tactic has already started to pay off, with refiners ordering extra volumes of Saudi crude for loading in April at “very attractive prices”, the sources added.
“They (the Saudis) knock on all doors offering a lot and cheaply …” a source with a Western oil major told Reuters.
(additional reporting by Jonathan Saul in LONDON and Devika Krishna Kumar in NEW YORK; Editing by Katya Golubkova and Alexander Smith)