SINGAPORE- Middle East crude benchmarks Oman and Dubai held firm on Monday, as spot trading activity for May-loading cargoes gathered pace.
Rongsheng Petrochemical, the trading arm of Chinese private refiner Zhejiang Petrochemical, has bought 5 million barrels of Middle Eastern crude for May-June via a spot tender, trade sources said.
Other than that, Thai refiner IRPC and Taiwanese refiner CPC have also issued their monthly spot tenders to seek sour crude. Both tenders will close on Tuesday.
Qatar Petroleum on Monday was closing its monthly crude and condensate spot sale tender.
Iraq's SOMO offered 1 million barrels of Basra Medium crude, loading April 28-30, via a tender to be closed on Tuesday.
Iran has set the April OSP of its Iranian Light crude oil grade for Asian buyers at $1.25 cents above the Oman/Dubai average, up 40 cents from the previous month, a source said.
The producer set the April Iranian Heavy crude OSP at 25 cents above the Oman/Dubai average, up 20 cents from the previous month, the source said.
Two cargoes of Papua New Guinea's Kutubu crude are scheduled to load in May. Oil Search will market one loading May 3-7, and Exxon Mobil will market the other one loading May 24-28, a trader said.
Vietnam's PV Oil offered 250,000 barrels of Thang Long crude, loading May 25-29, via a tender to be closed on Thursday with bids valid till March 25.
Russia's Surgutneftegaz will close a tender later on Monday to sell two cargoes of Russian ESPO Blend crude, loading April 30-May 5 and May 2-8.
ONGC offered via its second spot tender one Russian Sokol crude cargo loading May 27-June 2. The tender will close on Wednesday with same-day validity.
China's daily refinery throughput rose 15% in the first two months of the year, from a low base a year earlier, as fuel demand remains solid and refineries rush to hike production ahead of maintenance season.
The United States overtook Saudi Arabia as India's second biggest oil supplier last month, as refiners boosted cheaper U.S. crude purchases to record levels to offset OPEC+ supply cuts, data from trade sources showed.
Woodside Petroleum Ltd and its Japanese partners have shipped their first cargo of carbon offset condensate to commodity trader Trafigura from the Pluto LNG plant in Western Australia, the company said on Monday.
U.S. energy firms cut the number of oil and natural gas rigs operating for the first time since November even as crude prices soared to their highest since 2018.
(Reporting by Shu Zhang; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel) ((email@example.com; +65-6870-3549; Reuters Messaging: Twitter @shuzhang4))