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Brazilian crude-laden VLCC Baltic Glory leaves Japan for original China destination

The Brazilian crude-laden VLCC Baltic Glory, which one week ago appeared to be sailing through North Asia waters without a buyer, is heading back toward its original destination of Qingdao, China, where it is expected to unload some of its cargo.

The 309,000 mt tanker is expected to arrive at Qingdao on Friday, according to Platts vessel-tracking software cFlow. There it is expected to unload 100,000 mt of Lula crude for BP. The remaining 130,000 mt of Sapinhoa will be discharged later for Dongming, possibly at the port of Rizhao, market sources said. The medium sweet Lula (29.3 API, 0.36% sulfur) typically loads from Porto Acu, Brazil, or La Paloma STS off the coast of Uruguay. Sapinhoa (29.8 API, 0.4% sulfur) also loads from La Paloma.

S&P Global Platts has not been able to identify ship’s charterer nor the seller or sellers of the crude.

Baltic Glory sailed March 21 from Santos STS, which more commonly collects heavy sour crudes that are produced in Brazil’s offshore Campos Basin, such as Marlim (20.8 API, 0.75%S), Roncador Heavy (19.1 API, 0.69%S) and Albacora Leste (20.3 API, 0.57%S).

Baltic Glory was originally scheduled to travel to Qingdao, but after April 20 changed its destination to Nagasaki, Japan, which has not been used as a crude import port in recent years.

China crude sales have been slow this year, which many cited as a reason for Baltic Glory’s changing destination. The ship arrived at Nagasaki over the weekend and spent several days sailing with no apparent direction until Wednesday, when it began sailing toward Qingdao.

Market sources had been waiting to see where the tanker would end up. Had the crude been unloaded at Japan, it would have represented that country’s first import from Brazil since 2010. Had the crude ended up in South Korea, as some though possible, it would have represented that country’s first import of South American crude in at least five years.

However, it appears the crude will end up at China after all. Brazil is the No. 5 supplier of crude to China in 2018 so far, according to China customs data.

Source: Platts

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