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Rosneft has allocated April deliveries of the ESPO crude blend to commodity trader Trafigura instead of to China’s CEFC, suggesting that Russia’s largest producer may have altered or even terminated the terms of a crude delivery deal with the Chinese company, four sources familiar with the issue told Reuters on Monday.
Rosneft has a five-year deal with China’s CEFC to supply between 2018 and 2022 volumes of the ESPO crude grade, which is popular with the independent Chinese refiners, commonly known as ‘teapots.’
While the reason for leaving none of the ESPO supplies for April to the Chinese firm was not immediately clear, Reuters’ sources suggest that there may have been changes to the terms of the oil supply deal between Rosneft and CEFC, which had expressed interest to buy a large stake in the Russian oil giant three years ago.
Qatar Investment Authority paid some US$4.2 billion (3.7 billion euro) for a 14.16-percent stake in Rosneft, thus becoming the third-largest single shareholder after the Kremlin and BP, the Russian company said in November 2018.
The deal with the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar was the final episode of a saga in which a little-known Chinese company until that point, CEFC China, said in September 2017 that it had agreed with a consortium of Glencore and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) the terms of sale of the consortium’s 14.16-percent stake in Rosneft.
However, in March 2018, Chinese authorities started investigating the chief executive of CEFC China Energy, Ye Jianming, on suspicion of economic crimes. The investigation was part of a wider crackdown on private Chinese businesses after President Xi Jinping’s government warned that no Chinese billionaire, no matter how well-connected, is safe from scrutiny and investigation.
The investigation and troubles of CEFC China Energy raised concerns over the agreement that it had signed to buy 14 percent in Rosneft from Glencore and QIA.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.