Colombia receives first shipments of US light sweet crude: loading program

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Houston —
Colombia imported its first cargo of light sweet crude from the US this week and another cargo is en route, according to a loading program seen by S&P Global Platts Wednesday.

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Trafigura imported a 380,000-barrel cargo of West Texas Light into Colombia on Tuesday, while Colombian state-run producer Ecopetrol was scheduled to load 550,000 barrels of West Texas Intermediate in the coming days, the loading program showed.

One of the largest producers of medium and heavy sour crudes in South America, Colombia joins a growing list of international buyers to take cargoes of WTL, which is a newly-available crude quality being produced in the Permian Basin and marketed along the US Gulf Coast.

WTL is lighter and sweeter than traditional WTI out of the Permian and has a typical API range of 44.1 and 49.9 degrees with maximum sulfur of 0.4%, and began to be traded in the first quarter of the year.

Cargoes of the grade have been sent to buyers in India, Thailand, the Netherlands and Denmark, according to data intelligence firm Kpler.

While the grade is not currently assessed by Platts, WTL FOB cargoes have been heard to trade at a $1.50/b to $2/b discount to WTI MEH and at a slight premium to Eagle Ford Condensate.

The Colombian loading program showed that the Inca unloaded the shipment of WTL at the port of Cartagena on Wednesday.

The Inca loaded and sailed from Corpus Christi, Texas, on May 27, according to cFlow, Platts trade flow software.

Trafigura was named as the shipper, charterer and receiver of the cargo, according to the loading program.

Confirmation from Trafigura was unavailable as the company does not discuss its trades with the media.

Another cargo of WTI, which has between 38 and 44 API gravity and 0.4% sulfur content, is expected to arrive in Colombia early next week.

This is the first time that the Colombian loading program reports such a grade being imported from the US.

Typically, imports of US crudes into Colombia have included Thunder Horse, LLS, Mars and Bonito, among others as Ecopetrol processes different light grades its refineries Barrancabermeja and Reficar.

Ecopetrol was scheduled to load an Aframax with WTI crude in the coming days, with Phillips 66 as the supplier of the cargo, the loading program showed.

The Aframax, the NS Consul, sailed from Port Arthur, Texas, this week and was spotted in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, according to cFlow.

The tanker is expected to arrive in Cartagena on June 10.

–Maria Eugenia Garcia, maria.eugenia.garcia@spglobal.com

–Laura Huchzermeyer, laura.huchzermeyer@spglobal.com

–Kristian.Tialios, kristian.tialios&spglobal.com

–Edited by Richard Rubin, richard.rubin@spglobal.com