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Surgutneftegaz shuns Urals spot tenders, seals private deals with Litasco, Unipec


April 7 (Reuters) - Russia's Surgutneftegaz has shunned April Urals spot crude tenders in favour of private negotiations, reaching deals with trading firms Litasco and Unipec to load some of its cargoes, five traders said.

Surgutneftegaz turned to private negotiations after it failed to award several cargoes on the spot market last month, traders said, with Western companies reluctant to be seen buying Russian oil.

For years the largest seller of Russian oil on a spot basis, Surgutneftegaz has helped Urals oil market participants find a reference price and offered an open public tender process.

The producer offered some 7.3 million barrels of Urals oil in its monthly spot tenders in 2021 and early in 2022.

In March, the company only succeeded in placing cargoes loading early in the month, while tenders for cargoes loading after the middle of the month were not awarded.

It has since been privately negotiating with some of its former partners, with discussions around preferred loading dates, volumes and payment terms.

"They offer what they have based on the parameters of one's request", a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Surgutneftegaz has placed most of its Urals cargoes loading from Russian sea ports during April 1-15 with Litasco taking 500,000 tonnes and China's Unipec - 200,000 tonnes, according to traders' data.

Traders said that Surgutneftegaz is actively negotiating sales of remaining April Urals cargoes.

Surgutneftegaz, Litasco and Unipec representatives didn't respond to requests for comment.

(Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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