REFILE-Med Crude-Urals weakens on fresh exports amid Belarus row

LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Urals crude differentials widened on Thursday as Russian firms tendered new unexpected January volumes amid an oil dispute with Belarus, traders said.

Russia said on Thursday it hoped to reach an oil price deal with Belarus this week that will enable it to resume crude oil flows to its western neighbour and end a dispute that has threatened to disrupt pipeline supplies to Europe. [ID:nLDE70C11U]

However, as excess volumes have been accumulating since January 1, Russia's No. 4 oil firm Surgut has called two tenders for Urals ex Ukraine's Black Sea Yuzhny port.

Surgut has unexpectedly invited buyers to bid for two 80,000 tonnes cargos of Urals for loading at Yuzhny on Jan 18-19 and Jan 20-21, traders told Reuters.

One of the cargoes was sold to trader Talmai at minus $2.10-$2.15 to dated Brent, traders said, some 35 cents weaker than levels seen earlier this week.

In the Platts window, Tenergy, Vitol and Gunvor were offering 80,000-tonne cargoes in the Mediterranean at minus $2.50-$2.70, while in northwest Europe LUKOIL sold to Glencore a cargo at minus $2.20 to dated, some 30 cents weaker than levels seen earlier this week.

Russian oil export duties could rise by 9 percent in February to $345-$346 per tonne following a rise in global oil prices.

That usually means oil firms will try to evacuate their cargoes in January to avoid paying higher duties, thus adding more pressure on Urals.

In Ukraine, a local newspaper reported that Russian-British oil firm TNK-BP could suspend refining at its Lysychansk refinery due to heavy losses amid poor refining margins.

Urals margins for complex refineries in the Mediterranean remained deeply negative on Thursday compared to the annual average of plus $2.80 a barrel, Reuters models showed.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 remained largely flat on Thursday after a rally earlier this week, which took them close to the landmark $100 a barrel level, suggesting differentials with Urals would continue to widen. (Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov and Gleb Gorodyankin; editing by Keiron Henderson)


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