Coral Energy, which deals in crude oil and refined products, outbid China’s Sinopec for the purchase of Russian ESPO crude oil.

Dubai-based trader Coral Energy has become the top fuel oil supplier to Pakistan in recent months after winning a slew of import tenders floated by state-run Pakistan State Oil (PSO), data compiled by Reuters showed.

Coral Energy won tenders to sell eight fuel oil cargoes to PSO during April-August, said a spokesman for Pakistan’s energy ministry, as the country’s demand for oil in power generation grew after liquefied natural gas prices surged.

This is equivalent to more than 475,000 tonnes of fuel oil, Reuters calculations showed. Pakistan imported about 992,500 tonnes of fuel oil in the first half this year, data from Pakistan’s Oil Companies Advisory Council showed.

PSO started buying fuel oil from Coral Energy this year and, so far, the private trader has become the main supplier for PSO in July and August, PSO’s spokesperson said.

It last sold two cargoes of high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) cargoes to PSO for delivery in the first half of August, at premiums of $77 and $78 per tonne to Middle East quotes on a cost and freight (C&F) basis.

Trading houses Vitol and BB Energy were previously active participants in PSO’s fuel oil tenders.

For supplies in the second half of August, Coral Energy had submitted three offers for HSFO cargoes and one offer for low sulphur fuel oil (LSFO) in PSO’s tender, documents from PSO’s website showed.

It was not immediately clear if PSO bought any cargoes in this tender.

Coral Energy could not be immediately reached for comment. The company is looking at expanding its trading activities across Asia, said a source familiar with the matter.

The South Asian nation in June posted record monthly highs for imports and petroleum-related purchases, central bank data showed last week, as electricity demand peaked during summer.

Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have dwindled and it has been struggling to finance a widening current account deficit amid a fast depreciating currency.

Coral Energy, which deals in crude oil and refined products, outbid China’s Sinopec for the purchase of Russian ESPO crude oil cargoes in July.

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