February 14, 2020 / 4:10 PM / 9 days ago

UPDATE 1-Premiums for Russian April ESPO Blend fall to 2-1/2 year low - trade

(Adds information on Surgut new tender issue, detail)

MOSCOW, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Premiums for Russia's ESPO Blend crude oil ESPO-DUB loading from Far East Kozmino port fell to their lowest levels in two and a half years as demand from China, the main buyer of the grade, collapsed due to a coronavirus epidemic, traders said on Friday.

Russia's Surgutneftegaz awarded 400,000 tonnes of ESPO Blend loading in the first half of April at premiums from $2 to $2.30 per barrel to April Dubai swaps - the lowest level since August 2017, according to Reuters data.

Shell, Vitol, Unipec and Gunvor were the buyers of the cargoes, they added.

Most of the traders planned to resell the volumes to Chinese teapot refineries, traders said.

Surgutneftegaz sold March-loading ESPO Blend cargoes at premiums from $5 to $6 per barrel.

Surgutneftegaz also issued a new spot tender on Friday to sell 400,000 tonnes of ESPO Blend loading in the second half of April, traders said.

The producer offered cargoes loading from Kozmino on April 14-21, 18-25, 22-29 and 25-30, they added.

The tender closes on February 17 at 1400 Moscow time (1100 GMT). (Reporting by Olga Yagova; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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