The 80,000-mt Aframax of Bakken crude -- roughly 600,000 barrels -- started loading Thursday in Beaumont, Texas, and is set to depart Sunday, according to Belarus' Belta news agency, citing Belneftekhim press secretary Alexander Tishenko. The tanker is due to arrive in the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda in early June, he said. The crude will be refined at Belarus' Naftan refinery.
The State Department announced the shipment Friday, saying it was a competitive deal by US trader United Energy Trading, with the assistance of US firm Getka and Polish partner UNIMOT.
Bakken crude trading along the US Gulf Coast has fallen quiet in recent weeks, sources have told S&P Global Platts. June barrels of the grade in Nederland were assessed Thursday at a $1.90/b premium to the NYMEX WTI Calendar Month Average, or a 2 cent/b discount to WTI at the Magellan Houston terminal.
US Gulf Coast crude differentials have risen sharply in recent days. Bakken USGC pipeline crude has averaged at a 93 cents/b premium to the WTI CMA so far in May, much stronger than April's average $5.77/b discount.
While the US has never sent crude to Belarus until now, it sent the country a small amount of refined oil products, 58,000 barrels, in 2004, US Energy Information Administration data showed.